Sankar succumbs after being battered by mentally ill man
-family believes someone needs to be held responsible
By Rehana Ashley Ahamad
The distraught family members of 69-year-old Walter Sankar, who was brutally battered in the
head by a mentally ill man around 17:00hrs on Wednesday last, are hoping that justice will be served and their father’s “murderer” will be put away, be it prison, or the mental institution.
The incident occurred in a shop opposite the Sankars’ home on Fort Street, Kingston.
The father of five, who was scheduled to return to his home in the United States just a few hours after he died yesterday morning, succumbed to his injuries at around 4:00hrs at the Woodlands Hospital. Reports are that Sankar suffered a cardiac arrest.
Kaieteur News understands that Sankar was in the shop opposite his home awaiting his turn to purchase a pack of cigarettes, when a man who is suspected to be of unsound mind, started pounding him in the head with a piece of galvanized pipe.
The man’s son, Asif Sankar, said that he was peering through the front window of his home when he saw a big commotion in his neighbour’s shop.
Trying his best to get a glimpse of what was going on, young Sankar saw his father lying helplessly on the ground as his assailant, identified as 46-year-old Patrick Leonard, continued to hammer the piece of pipe in his face.
“When I rushed outside then I see me father all blood up and deh on the ground. I rush over and try to hold back the pipe from the man hand, and I get couple lashes too. But I can’t get over the fact that all that time when me father was helpless on the floor, this man just keep pounding away at he. You could see this man swinging this thing with all he power,” the son added.
The attacker stopped only after an onlooker threw a brick at him. Neighbours later detained and handed him over to the police.
The man was reportedly taken to Brickdam Police Station, but was later transferred to the Grove Police Station.
According to relatives, the shopkeeper claimed that he was packing some beverages into his freezer, and only knew that something was wrong when he took a break and turned around. But by that time, Sankar had already fallen to the ground in an unconscious state.
The shopkeeper, after seeing the scuffle between the mentally ill man and Sankar’s son, was of the impression that the fight might have been of a petty nature.
It was when he approached the counter that he saw the badly beaten Sankar lying on the floor.
The Brooklyn resident had returned to Guyana on Boxing Day 2011 for the first time in 15 years to spend some time with his two sons, the only two of this five children residing in Guyana.
The elder of the two, Intakhab Sankar, told Kaieteur News that it is hard for the family to console themselves with the fact that the assailant is of unsound mind, since he does not eat out of the garbage, but rather, shops for goods and cooks for himself.
He said that the man lives on the seawalls and has been going to the shop to purchase food items on a daily basis for many years now.
The dead man’s family is stressing that the streets should not be the place for mentally ill persons, as they pose threats to themselves and those innocent.
“I remember seeing a mad lady walking with a knife in she hands just a few weeks ago. I mean, she could’ve stabbed anybody passing by, even a child. What happened to my father could happen to anyone,” Asif Sankar recalled.
The senior Sankar left Guyana 30 years ago to reside in the United States of America, where he had been working as a Chef in a senior citizens’ home until recently when he retired.
Intakhab Sankar said that it is because his father had retired that he decided to visit. The man said that his father’s visit resulted in them creating memories that will unfortunately have to suffice and help them move on.
However, the man’s youngest child, and only daughter, with whom he resided in the US, told Kaieteur News that someone has to be held responsible for what happened.
Her name is Sherry-Ann Sankar, and she arrived in Guyana yesterday morning with the intention of taking care of her father, and making him well enough to travel back home.
She was however, given the shock of her life when she got the news of his passing.
The distraught woman told this newspaper that her father was a perfectly healthy 69-year-old.
“Somebody don’t just go on vacation and get their head bashed; they got murdered. The word “murder” is floating around now. This man did not come here and die of natural causes. He was a perfectly healthy 69-year-old. He was on no medications whatsoever.”
“Over here there is no system where these people get treatment. They just let them go on the street. Back home you would get treatment, psychiatric evaluation. You will be placed in somewhere where you would not be able to hurt anybody. And there will be people who will be held responsible for this guy’s actions, because he shouldn’t be on the streets,” the woman said.
Meanwhile, her brothers, with tears in their eyes, recalled the wonderful times they had with their father over the past couple months.
“We went everywhere, Bartica, Linden, Berbice; we went all over and hangout,” Intakhab Sankar said.
The man was expected to return in January for his 70th birthday.
As of now, the attacker remains in custody, and is expected to be taken for a psychiatric evaluation, after which he will be placed before the court. (Rehana Ashley Ahamad)