Apr 05, 2018 News
The lifeless body of Joseph Jagdeo, former proprietor of South Central Hotel, was found lying under a bed in Room 10 of the premises. This is according to Wendell Eastman, called Buxton, who was employed at the hotel as a watchman.
He was called to testify yesterday when the trial of Brian Leitch who is accused of murdering Jagdeo commenced before Justice Sandil Kissoon and a 12-member mixed jury at the High Court in Georgetown. Leitch, also known as ‘Big Foot’ and formerly of Diamond, East Bank Demerara, pleaded not guilty to the indictment which alleges that between November 13 and November 14, 2013 at Georgetown he murdered Joseph Jagdeo called ‘Joey’.
The murder accused is being represented by Attorney-at-laws, Hewley Griffith and Lawrence Harris. Appearing for the state are Prosecutors Mandel Moore and Lisa Cave.
Based on information, on November 13, 2013, Leitch and a female companion had rented a room at the hotel. During that time, Jagdeo misplaced his cellular phone and had confronted Leitch.
After Jagdeo’s employees did not see him the following day, they became concerned about his whereabouts and forced their way into his room where they were greeted by his motionless body.
Police ranks were later summoned to the scene. A police press release revealed that Jagdeo’s cause of death was given as asphyxia due to manual strangulation.
During his time in the witness box, Eastman told the court that in November 2013, he lived and worked at South Central Hotel. The witness recalled that on November 12, 2013, Leitch and a female were staying in the hotel when they had an argument over Leitch stealing Jagdeo’s phone.
According to Eastman, “The boss man (Jagdeo) told me to give Leitch Room 10 because the girl didn’t want him to stay in her room.” Eastman related that he last saw his employer alive at around 09:00hrs on November 13, when he gave him $1,000 to buy porridge.
He said that later on in the evening, Paula Hollingsworth, who worked as a bartender at the hotel, went to the upper flat of the premises. He said that after he called out for his employer and got no response, he retired to bed. The court heard through Eastman that on November 14, 2013, he was filling water when he saw Jagdeo’s pet cat by his office door. He said that after a while, the cat began scratching on the wall of Room 10 and started purring.
Eastman added that the behaviour of the cat was very unusual and prompted him to call out to Patrick Wilson, another employee at the hotel. He said that he told his colleague about the behaviour of the cat, after which he went outside and climbed onto a shed from where he saw the keys to open the door to Room 10 on the bed. The witness explained that he pushed a pipe through the window and collected the keys from the bed and handed them over to Wilson who used them to open the room door.
According to Eastman, the cat made a sudden dash into the room and ran out back purring. He added that he warned Wilson to not go into the room and he complied. From kneeling in a passageway next to the room, Eastman said he saw his boss lying motionless under a bed and summoned the police.
Also testifying yesterday was a female police lance corporal who is stationed at the Brickdam Police Station and attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
The police rank said that on November 14, 2013, she and a party of policemen along with Phylicia Williams called ‘Red Girl’ went to a house located at Lot 185 Pike Street, Kitty, Georgetown where they met a 16-year-old occupant.
The then 16-year-old, the policewoman disclosed, told her something and gave her a small cellular phone which contained a Digicel SIM card. When questioned by the jury to reveal what the teenager had told her, the lance corporal said that the teen told her that she got the phone from a young man she knows by the alias ‘Big Foot.”
Also testifying was Detective Sergeant Rawle Nedd who told the court that some time after the killing, a wanted bulletin was issued for Leitch and that he surrendered in the company of his mother and reporter, Michael Jordan, at the CID Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown. The trial is continuing.
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