The police have arrested the woman who turned 45-year-old Malcolm Lancaster into a human torch after she allegedly doused him with more than two gallons of gasoline on Friday last.
Reports are that Malcolm Lancaster, of Rosignol, Berbice and of Joseph Pollydore Street, Lodge, was cleaning “gold” over the fireside when his reputed wife came from behind and threw gasoline on him, causing him to be engulfed in the flames. Kaieteur News was told that the woman was arrested and transported to the Bartica Police Station.
However one day after the story was highlighted in the media relatives of the suspect are strongly rejecting the contention that the woman came from behind and threw the gasoline on Lancaster.
Wavette Walters, a cousin of the suspect identified as Karen Reece, told Kaieteur News, yesterday, that the woman had suffered years of physical abuse and it was Lancaster who was attempting to burn the woman and ended up harming himself.
Walters told Kaieteur News that Lancaster was threatening to harm Reece who had finally made up her mind about leaving him.
The woman said that she can verify this story since Reece’s 18-year-old son also received burns to his hands after he tried to protect his mother. According to the relative Reece was packing her belongings when a scuffle started in the house.
At this point Kaieteur News was told that the woman’s 18-year-old son intervened and tried to protect his mother.
“Malcolm was the person who had the torch in his hand…He was going to throw the gas on her and it fall on he and on my cousin’s son and burn both of them,” the relative said.
Giving various instances of Lancaster’s abuse, Walters said that the couple was placed on a bond a few months back.
According to her, Lancaster had accused the woman of stealing money from him and he allegedly threw a bottle of pepper in her eyes.
“He run to the police and tell them that she thief de money and she was charged….but they eventually charged him for assaulting her after a medical was produced,” Walters said.
Walters, who lives in South Sophia, further told Kaieteur News that both matters were dismissed after Lancaster agreed to drop his against Reece.
“After he get charged he ask she to settle de matter and she settle it because is man and woman,” the woman said.
Just over a month ago Walters said that Lancaster destroyed all of Reece’s clothing and a part of a grocery shop that woman operates in the interior, after she threatened him to leave.
“He burn up she clothes and de shop…He always beating she; is not three cents thing she go through with Malcolm.”
The woman spoke of Lancaster taking Reece’s money to satisfy some expenses and using it. She said that he would hit her cousin but that the woman would fight back. “Is a blow for a blow.”
Asked if a report was made in one instance, Walters said that her cousin refused to testify because she was fearful of Lancaster. The family has retained the services of a prominent defence lawyer. The police are still investigating the matter and charges are expected to be laid some time during the week.
The incident happened in the Ikawan Backdam, Mazaruni Friday last.
Lancaster died around 20:00hrs on Saturday at the Georgetown Hospital Burn Care Unit. He had reportedly suffered severe third degree burns to his entire body.
A sister of the victim explained that her brother was in the yard cleaning “some raw gold” when the incident happened.
His son, Nichol, who witnessed the incident was the person who took his father to the Bartica Hospital.
However Lancaster was later transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital due to the severity of his injuries.
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