… still on the run
By Michael Jordan
A 54-year-old mini-bus driver stabbed his reputed wife to death at around 06:15 hrs yesterday after lying in wait for her on a deserted Herstelling, East Bank Demerara roadway.
Savitrie Arjune, 34, called ‘Sabi’, who last resided at Lot 382 Herstelling, and had endured a stormy eight-year relationship with the suspect, collapsed and died on Rum Shop Street, Herstelling from stab wounds to the heart and side.
Reports indicate that the suspect, identified as ex-soldier Charles Chapman, called ‘Frenchy’, had carefully plotted the murder, and had parked the minibus on the East Bank Demerara public road along the route the victim regularly used when heading to work in the city.
Arjune, who is survived by two children, was in the vicinity of Rum Shop Road and the East Bank Demerara public road when the suspect, who was hiding near the vehicle with a knife concealed in an umbrella, pounced on her and inflicted the fatal wounds.
After she collapsed, Chapman reportedly boarded the vehicle and drove to Peter’s Hall, East Bank Demerara, where he abandoned the vehicle.
Although the victim’s desperate screams awakened several Herstelling residents, the only witness to the killing was the bus conductor, Cleveland Welch, who was with Chapman at the time.
Police confirmed that the suspect has since made numerous phone calls to the slain woman’s family, and has indicated that they will suffer a similar fate.
At the home, family members spoke of receiving calls from Chapman, threatening that he would have been back last night to shoot up the household.
Chapman also spoke via his mobile phone with a Kaieteur News reporter some four hours after killing Arjune.
During the conversation, the suspect alleged that he had killed Arjune because she had been constantly unfaithful to him.
He also indicated that he would take his own life rather than “punish in jail”.
The two had shared a common-law relationship for eight years, and Arjune’s relatives alleged that she was constantly beaten.
Eventually she moved out three weeks ago and went to live at her mother’s house, which is a stone’s throw from the house in which she and the suspect had lived.
The relatives claimed that the suspect had slashed Arjune on her side about a week ago and had repeatedly threatened to kill her.
He had also doused Arjune’s mother’s house with gasolene some months ago, threatening to burn it down.
Speaking to Kaieteur News on his cell phone some hours after, Chapman readily admitted to killing his reputed wife, but claimed that he was provoked into the act, and even alleged that he was the abused partner in the eight-year relationship.
Asked why he had the knife in his possession if he had intended no harm, the fugitive claimed that he always walked with a ‘blade’, since he is also a former seaman.
According to the suspect, he was in the company of the bus owner early yesterday morning and had parked the bus on the Herstelling public road, since he knew that Arjune would pass at that time on her way to work.
He also alleged that he indicated to the owner that he intended to “make her (Arjune) an example”.
The fugitive alleged that he eventually spotted Arjune approaching and emerged from the vehicle with the intention of merely holding her.
However, he said that his reputed wife began to scream and he stabbed her.
“I try to hold she and she start screaming. When I pull the ‘blade’ he (the owner/conductor) start run. When I give she the juck (stab) I tell he (the conductor) reverse and I gun put she in and carry she to the hospital.”
However, instead of assisting the wounded woman, Chapman said that he “jump in and drive away”.
Repeatedly blaming Arjune for his troubles, Chapman told Kaieteur News that he befriended the mother of two about eight years ago when he was a seaman who was making a lot of money.
At the time, he was residing in Berbice with his wife and family.
The suspect said that he left his wife and moved into a house with Arjune.
Chapman alleged that he splurged large sums of cash on his lover, but claimed that he eventually discovered that she was unfaithful to him, and was also physically and verbally abusive.
He alleged that on one occasion she struck him with a piece of wood and fractured one of his hands.
Chapman also claimed that she smashed the windscreen of a minibus that he had bought, and that the vehicle was eventually repossessed after he was unable to make his payments.
The suspect claimed that about four years ago they broke up, and he decided to return to his wife’s home.
“Me wife accept me about four years back, (and) I carry me things to Berbice.”
However, the fugitive said that he relented after Arjune “begged” him to return to her.
According to Chapman, he told his wife that he had landed a job on a ship, but instead rented a house in Herstelling “and put her (Arjune) in it”.
But he alleged that her infidelity continued and he also ran into financial trouble, to the extent that he was unable to pay his rent and his phone was disconnected.
He said that three weeks ago Arjune walked out on him and returned to her mother’s house.
Chapman indicated that he had harboured thoughts of killing Arjune and her family prior to yesterday’s tragedy. He also admitted to attempting to burn the property down.
According to the suspect, he finally “tripped out” on
Wednesday, when he allegedly looked over at the Arjune’s house and saw Savitrie Arjune laughing at him.
“Yesterday, the family laugh at me and I just trip,
and I decide to do it,” he claimed.
Chapman said that after he had later informed his wife and other relatives that he had killed Arjune, “they said that is me life and I done f— it up.
“I will not to go to jail and punish. I ain’t going to jail to sit down three, four years for my case start. I too old fuh that.”
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