Feb 18, 2015 News
Mohamed Kayum, the Grandfather of murdered Queen’s College student, Neesa Gopaul told the court yesterday, that he was present when a police officer identified the headless remains of a female to be that of his granddaughter.
Kayum is the fifth civilian witness to take the stand in murder trial of Jarvis Small and Bibi Shareema Gopaul. The two persons are on trial before Justice Navindra Singh and a mixed twelve -member jury at the High Court in Georgetown for the murder, which allegedly took place sometime between September 24 and October 2, 2010.
Small is being represented by a team of lawyers including Glenn Hanoman, Bernard De Santos SC, Lyndon Amsterdam and Zanna Frank, while Gopaul is being represented by Attorney-at-Law, George Thomas.
State Prosecutors Diana Kaulesar, Mercedes Thompson and Stacy Gooding are presenting the case
On October 2, 2010, the headless remains of a female was discovered at a location along the Soesdkye/Linden Highway, tucked inside a suitcase that was partially submerged in a creek. A rope was wrapped around the suitcase and dumbbells were attached at one end, apparently in an effort to keep the body under water.
In addition to the body, a passport bearing the name Neesa Lalita Gopaul was also found. The teenager was reported missing just days before the discovery was made.
Following the discovery, the teen’s mother, Bibi and her then lover, Small were arrested and charged for the murder.
Yesterday, 73-year- old Kayum took the stand and identified the number two accused as his daughter Bibi Shareema Gopaul. Kayum then told the court he also knew number one accused, “Barry Small,” because his daughter had introduced them to each other before. He explained that they were introduced one morning after he had visited her home at Leonora, West Coast Demerara (WCD).
The elderly man told the court that he is a resident of Anna Catherina, WCD, but that he would visit his daughter and her children, who were living a few villages away, from time to time.
Kayum said that on October 2, 2010, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Terrance Paul contacted him at the Leonora Police Station and related to him that the police had found the body of his granddaughter, Neesa Gopaul, and that the body was at Lyken’s Funeral Home.
The man said that he later went to the funeral home accompanied by Officer Paul, who pointed out the body to be that of his granddaughter, Neesa Gopaul.
“When I get there he tell me this is Neesa Gopaul,” the witness said, noting that the body was clad in a flowered multi-coloured top and black tights.
Prosecutor Kaulesar then asked the witness whether there was anything about the body which looked familiar. The man replied in the affirmative, noting that he had seen his granddaughter in the multi-coloured flowered top on at least one occasion before. Kayum said that the teen was wearing the top when she visited his home in Anna Catherina on September 17, 2010.
The witness explained that it was the day after her birthday that she visited his home; she was wearing the multi-coloured flowered top and blue jeans.” I kill a duck, cook and treat them,” the witness said noting that, that was the last time he saw his granddaughter alive.
Kayum was also shown a photograph in which he identified the clothing to be that which he had seen on the body at the funeral home.
He said that on October 6, 2010, he went to the mortuary of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, (GPHC) to witness a post mortem examination conducted on the said body. Kayum recalled however, that the body was headless, thus he could not definitively say whether it belonged to his granddaughter Neesa Gopaul.
Further question about his granddaughters, Kayum said that they – Neesa Gopaul and her younger sister, Miriam – were placed in his care by the Child Care and Protection Agency, (CPA).
Gopaul said that after four weeks his daughter, (Bibi Shareema) came for her two children and he sent them with their mother. He explained that he had spoken to Ann Greene of the CPA, and she told him that she had given the mother permission to collect her children. The witness expressed his love for both his granddaughters
Kayum further stated that ever since the incident; the younger granddaughter was left in his care.
“That is me job now to look after Miriam. Meh does make sure she go to school, come home and everything.. Meh does look after she!” the witness said emphatically.
This brought tears to the eyes of the number two accused Gopaul, who hid her face in her hands as she sat listening to her father’s testimony.
The elderly man also noted that he was left with the keys to his daughter’s home following her arrest.
Under cross examination from Senior Counsel Bernard De Santos, the witness explained that Officers Paul and Jessemy took him to see the body at the funeral home.
Kayum said that after the officer told him that the body belonged to his granddaughter, he asked them how they knew. The witness said Officer Paul responded by stating that a passport and bank card bearing the name, Neesa Gopaul, was found with the body. Kayum noted however, that he never saw any of the said documents.
In response to questions by the attorney, the witness maintained that the multi-coloured flowered top was the only thing he recognized on the body. He noted that he did not identify the body, but he was told it was Neesa Gopaul.
Kayum also accepted that he was reluctant to give a statement, but he subsequently did so at the insistence of the police. The witness also noted that his other granddaughter submitted a statement to police officers at their Headquarters in Eve Leary.
Further questioned about the evidence he had given in the Magistrates’ Court regarding the identity of the corpse, Kayum acknowledged that the only reason he accepted that Neesa Gopaul was dead was because the police told him so.
“I tell the magistrate that I don’t know if it was Neesa Gopaul, because she was headless.”
The defence attorney went on to ask the witness whether he knew that his granddaughter had a boyfriend, and whether the boyfriend was allowed to visit the home from time to time.
“No no no, nah me house” the witness blurted in response, causing an outburst of laughter in the courtroom.
Under cross examination by Defence Attorney George Thomas, Kayum disclosed that his granddaughter had complained to him about Small being in their home, but noted that Neesa never complained about her mother.
The elderly man recalled that on one occasion he had repaired a door at his daughter’s residence.
“She tell me that Barry Small kick down the door,” the witness recounted. Asked whether his daughter made any attempts to get Small out of her home, the witness said “me tell Shareema Gopaul, meh ask she wha ya do with this man? This man looks like a killer, all he eye red red… but she seh she try fuh put he out, but he nah does tek leff”.
Near the end of his evidence, the elderly man broke down on the stand. In tears, the man expressed gratitude that he was able to tell his part of the story to the court before he died. He noted that he took care of his granddaughters whole-heartedly.
Following the cross examination, a member of the jury sought clarification into the statements made by the witness with regard to the CPA. However, this question was not allowed based on objections by the defence. Senior Counsel Bernard De Santos noted that such questions would lead to hearsay and prejudicial evidence.
Ashram Tiwari also testified yesterday. He told the court that he became acquainted with Small about a year prior to the incident. He told the court that he would visit Small at his home, where they would hang out. The man noted that during the period he had known the accused, he lived at two houses; with his wife and at Nari’s, whom he identified to be Bibi Shareema Gopaul.
The witness recounted that while visiting the home he noticed gym equipment, dumbbells included. Tiwari told the court that in October 2010, he was also arrested in relation with the incident. He noted that he submitted a statement to the police after he was shown a pair of dumbbells which he recognized to be the ones he had seen at the home of the accused.
The witness was subsequently shown the pair of dumbbells which were admitted into the evidence earlier in the trial. He identified them to be the weights he had seen at the Police Station and at the home of the accused.
Police Corporal Lancelot Wittington also took the stand. The policeman told the court that he had taken photographic exposures of the body of Neesa Gopaul, during a post mortem exercise which was conducted by Government Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh.
The witness identified 10 photographs as those he had taken of the body in October 2010. The images were thereafter admitted into evidence and shown to members of the jury.
Jan 20, 2021Kaieteur News – The Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) yesterday met with the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson, at the National Racquet Centre, Woolford Avenue....
Jan 20, 2021
Jan 20, 2021
Jan 20, 2021
Jan 20, 2021
Jan 19, 2021
Kaieteur News – The joining of the PNC and Walter Rodney’s party, the Working People’s Alliance, under the umbrella... more
Kaieteur News – The second set of criticisms surrounding the gas-to-shore (GTS) project concerns Guyana’s international... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]