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Family links mom’s killing to court case

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Relatives and friends of Sally Roopan gather outside her family’s home yesterday to offer support to her grieving mother, who fainted after learning of her murder. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL

Less than two months after an intruder broke into Stacy Roopan’s car and left her a death threat, the Couva mother of one was gunned down yesterday outside her son’s pre-school.


A relative said yesterday last December someone broke into Roopan’s car, stole her personal documents and left a hand-written note on her car seat, warning that if she were to testify in an ongoing court matter she would be killed. 


According to Supt Johnny Abraham, who responded to the murder, Roopan, a 25-year-old nursing student at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of T&T (Costaatt), San Fernando, was walking along Isaiah Street around 1.30 pm on her way to pick up her three-year-old son, Christiano Harickdeo, at his pre-school on Rowano Drive.


As she reached in front the school, a white car pulled up in front of her and a gunman shot her six times. The car then sped off. Roopan, who was hit in the head and upper body, died on the spot. Crime scene detectives recovered several rounds of 9 mm shell casings at the scene.


When her father, Lutchman Roopan, heard gunshots near their De Montebruin Street, Balmain, home yesterday, his intuition told him it was his daughter who had been killed. 


Speaking near the spot where his daughter met her fate moments later, Lutchman said he was at home with Roopan’s boyfriend, Peter Harickdeo, when he heard the gunshots. 


“We only heard the shots. I know about gunshots and I told him go and check. My gut feeling was that somebody shot my daughter.”


Roopan’s mother, Sally, did not get a chance to see her daughter’s body as when she reached the top of Isaiah Street, undertakers were removing it. However, on seeing that she fainted in her son Prem Roopan’s arms. Relatives had to take her to the Couva Health Centre for medical attention, as they said she suffered from hypertension.


Prem told the T&T Guardian his sister’s murder may be linked to a wrongful arrest case involving Stacy three years ago, when she was charged with larceny of a motor vehicle.


“She got a wrongful arrest and she won the case. It happened about three years ago and late last year it finished.” 


He added: “She was charged for a stolen vehicle because she stood next to a vehicle talking on the phone and they thought she was with the people who stole the vehicle. That was in Port-of-Spain at a Carnival party.”


However, other family members also suspect a relative of Roopan might have been involved in her murder. 


Asked if his sister was fearful for her life, Prem said: “No, she was normal. She was not worried about any threats or else she would not be walking on the streets to pick up her child. She would have taken her vehicle and gone.”


As relatives stood at the roadside admiring Roopan’s photos yesterday, they were hopeful of getting justice despite lamenting the low crime-detection rate. 


Prem said although she was pursing an undergraduate degree in nursing, his sister planned to open a pre-school later this year.


“Right now the pain I am in, nobody knows. You would have to be in it to know what I am going through. She was a loving person. I mean she had her little bad ways but nobody is perfect. She did not deserve this,” he added.


Her cousin, Lauren Mohammed, was confident of getting justice, however, saying: “Jesus Christ will give us justice, not this government, not police.”


The murder toll for the year stood at 52 up to last evening. The toll last year at the same time stood at 41.


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