Last update: 05-Dec-2013 8:03 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Verdict expected this week in Pixie Lakhan, Taramatie Toolsie murder trial
Justice Mark Mohammed is today expected to begin summing up the evidence in the double murder trial against Paul Vincent. Since May, the jury has been hearing evidence in the San Fernando First Assizes where Vincent is on trial for the murders of 16-year-old Radha Pixie Lakhan and janitor Taramatee Toolsie, 40. The State, led by attorney Renuka Rambhajan, is alleging that Vincent, 33, gave written statements to the police confessing to raping and strangling both women. Both women lived on adjoining streets in Siparia.
However, the defence, led by attorney Rekha Ramjit, has contended that Vincent, a father of one, was framed by the police who fabricated and concocted the statements. The murders occurred eight years ago. Evidence was led that on March 22, 2005, that after leaving school, Palo Seco Secondary, Lakhan dropped out of a taxi and was seen walking up Spring Trace—the street where she lived with her parents and siblings. She never made it home. The police and her relatives would then form search parties, but they would not find her. Three weeks later on April 15, Toolsie, 40, left her home for work around 5.30 am, but never made it there. Toolsie’s half-naked body was found three days later by a search party, not far from her home. She was raped and strangled with her bag strap.
The next morning Vincent, who lived with his common-law wife and child, on the same street as Toolsie, was arrested in connection with the attempted robbery and indecent assault against another woman in the Siparia area. That incident took place the day after Toolsie went missing. While at the station, Vincent was questioned in connection with Toolsie’s murder. The State led evidence from Insps Dhillpaul and Griffith that Vincent confessed to killing Toolsie and then confessed to killing Lakhan. Vincent, the State is alleging, took police to a bamboo patch off Lakhan’s street where the police found her skeletal remains, school uniform and bag. He allegedly told police he ripped off her clothes, raped her six times and then used her school belt to strangle her.
Vincent’s friend Lyndon Vialva said, on the morning Toolsie disappeared, Vincent came by his home with “fresh” cuts on his shoulder going upwards to the neck. He said Vincent had a little blood on his pants, which was also dirty. The defence, however, claimed the injuries were caused by rough sex with his common-law wife. Vincent was convicted and sentenced for assaulting the woman he tried to rob in Siparia. The State contends that there are several similarities in the circumstances surrounding that incident and the murders. The defence, however, say there are no similarities. The defence alleges that the police took advantage of Vincent because he could not read or write. The defence challenged the language used in the statements, saying it was the words of police officers not Vincent’s. The defence claims that Vincent was tired and confused because he was not properly fed and treated in the station. Last week the State and the defence completed their closing addresses. It is expected that the judge will complete summing up on Friday and before the 12-member jury retires to decide upon on a verdict.
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