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Sunday 18 November 2018
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3 confess to Vindra’s murder

THREE members of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen yesterday confessed to their lawyer of their role in the kidnapping, murder and dismemberment of the body of Extra Foods Chief Executive Officer Vindra Naipaul-Coolman in Decem-ber last year.

The 51-year-old businesswoman was snatched outside her Lange Park, Chaguanas, home on the night of December 19 last year.

A report submitted by United Kingdom officers based at the Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) revealed that Naipaul-Coolman was also shot.

Yesterday, the three men met for one hour with attorney Odai Ramischand at a secret location and revealed all the details from the time Naipaul-Coolman was snatched to the disposal of her body.

The men who appeared scared said that two members of their organisation who were also involved in the kidnapping were given instructions to execute them at all costs.

One of the men who was trembling while being interviewed by Ramischand said he and the two others have been in hiding and wanted to give themselves up to the police on the condition that they be granted immunity and be placed in a safe house.

Late yesterday, attempts were being made by Ramischand to hand over the men to Gilbert Reyes, Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of Crime.

The men claimed that on the night of December 19, they, along with nine others, were given specific instructions to grab Naipaul-Coolman, take her to a house at La Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin, and then the ransom demand would be paid.

According to the men, the kidnapping was botched when one of the kidnappers fired a shot at the vehicle in which Naipaul-Coolman was seated.

The bullet struck her on the left side of the breast.

She was driven to La Puerta, where she was allowed to speak briefly to her husband Rennie Coolman.

During her stay at the house in La Puerta, the kidnappers got a doctor to visit Naipaul-Coolman and administer medication to her but her health started deteriorating.

The doctor told the kidnappers that the life of the kidnap victim was in limbo because her wound had become infected due to diabetes.

On December 20, Naipaul-Coolman was raped by one of the men guarding her at the house.

On Thursday December 21, she succumbed to her gunshot injuries and died.

Her abductors panicked and a decision was made to dismember the body.

According to one of the three men, the body was wrapped in a cloth and taken to Central where it was disposed off.

The three men said that following the death of Naipaul-Coolman they learned that instructions were given to kill them and they have been in hiding since.

They contacted a friend who advised them to go to Ramischand so that arrangements could be made for them to be granted immunity and protection.

Ramischand told Newsday late yesterday that once the three witnesses are in police custody, they will approach the Director of Public Prosecutions on the matter. On January 6, Assistant Police Commissioner James Philbert received a tip off that Naipaul-Coolman was being kept in a house at La Puerta.

A large contingent of police and soldiers locked down the area and a thorough search was carried out.

A helicopter was also used in the search and seven persons were arrested.

Newsday reported exclusively on January 7 that a man in custody confessed that Naipaul-Coolman was chopped to bits after she died.

The suspect was interviewed by the police but later released.

Crime Stoppers offered a reward of $100,000 for information leading to the whereabouts of Naipaul-Coolman, while Lange Park residents also offered a reward.

The police later received a tip-off from a man who claimed that the body of Naipaul-Coolman was dumped in a pond at Depot Road, Longdenville.

This led to a week-long search from January 16 to the 20 which netted nothing.

On February 2, Rennie Coolman the husband of Naipaul-Coolman held a joint press briefing with ACP Crime Gilbert Reyes and declared that he was of the view that his wife was still alive.

“My life has turned to shreds” he said while at the press briefing.

Reyes said that the police had no reason to believe that Naipaul-Coolman was dead and the police were still in a search and rescue mode.

Sookdeo Naipaul, the father of the kidnap victim also pleaded with the kidnappers to give information to the police so that the family could have closure in the matter.

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