By Feona Morrison
Though 26-year-old Colin Allen was found guilty by a jury of murdering 77-year-old Montrose, East Coast Demerara pensioner, Danrasie ‘Carmen’ Ganesh, yesterday in the High Court in Georgetown, the killer insisted that he did not commit the crime, even after video evidence presented in his trial shows him in the woman’s home brutalizing her.
“I don’t think a man like you should ever see daylight again,” trial Judge Navindra Singh told Allen, also known as ‘Bonus’, before sentencing him to 100 years in prison. The killing occurred on August 01, 2015, at Ganesh’s Lot 121 Montrose, East Coast Demerara home, where had she lived alone.
State Prosecutors Tuanna Hardy, Abigail Gibbs and Teriq Mohamed submitted that Ganesh lived alone, and that on the day in question, she was visited by an unwanted guest, Allen, who was unknown to her, entered her house as though he knew her, and murdered her.
Following a summation of the evidence, the jurors retired for deliberations and did so for about three hours, emerging with a unanimous guilty verdict. At the announcement of the verdict, Allen’s lawyer Rachael Bakker declined to say anything in mitigation. With this, Allen was left at the mercy of the court.
Allen, as he swayed from side to side, told the judge, “Me ain’t know about nothing. I was never there. Me ain’t kill nobody.”
“They say a picture is worth a 1000 words,” Justice Singh told Allen, as he made reference to CCTV footage retrieved from Ganesh’s home, which shows him attacking her.
In arriving at a sentence for Allen, Justice Singh commenced at a base of 60 years. In addition, to that, he added 10 years for premeditation; another 10 years. for excessive brutality in that Allen repeatedly stomped and kicked at the old woman who could not have posed a threat to him; a further 10 years was added since, according to Justice Singh, it was a murder for pay and another 10 years, given the woman’s age and the fact that she could have barely walked properly.
In the footage, which was tendered in court, Allen was seen hitting Ganesh repeatedly on the head with a tyre wrench, and kicking and stomping her. Then there was also a 14-page caution statement, which Allen gave to Police Sergeant Detective Rodwell Sarrabo, in which he admitted to being paid $700,000 to kill the woman, and that he gave all the monies to his mother who then left for Suriname.
Detectives testifying in the trial not only said that Allen made the statement freely and voluntarily, but also identified himself several times in the footage taken from CCTV cameras in and around the elderly woman’s residence.
Following revision of the CCTV footage, and Allen’s caution statement, a police witness testified to witnessing a follow-up interview between Allen and Sergeant Sarrabo, who asked him several questions to clear up inconsistencies between what was said in the caution statement and what was seen in the footage.
During closing arguments on Monday, Bakker had contended that the surveillance footage was of bad quality and that her client was coerced into giving the caution statement.
According to Bakker, the prosecution was selective in the evidence they brought to the court. She pointed out that though fingerprints were removed from the crime scene, no forensic evidence in that regard was tendered by the prosecution. Bakker submitted that the evidence produced by the prosecution was insufficient and could not yield a conviction.
During the trial, the dead woman’s son, Ganesh Hardiyal, testified to seeing Allen peeping into his mother’s yard while he was standing under a mango tree, over the road from the house in which she was discovered dead.
According to him, on August 2, 2015, he noticed the man, but was unable to identify him. As a result, he told the court that he called his brother, Manesh Ganesh, who was aware of the CCTV footage, to see whether he could have identified the man at the mango tree.
Manesh said that after receiving a phone call from his brother, he went outside, but did not see anyone under the mango tree. Nevertheless, the witness told the court that as he was heading to the police station, he saw the man who was captured on the CCTV footage, riding a bicycle through a street.
This, he said, enabled him to get a better look at the man, which encouraged him to lodge a report with the police. During the trial, Manesh Ganesh pointed out Allen, who was seated in the prisoners’ dock, as the man on the bicycle.
Basmattie Ganesh, the daughter of the deceased, told the court that she lived a few streets away from her mother, at Lot 188 Montrose, East Coast Demerara.
The witness said that her mother lived alone and that she was taking care of the property for some neighbours who had migrated from Guyana.
Further, in her testimony, the daughter said that she last saw her mother alive on July 31, 2015. On that day, she said, she gave her channa to eat. She added that sometime during the morning of August 1, 2015, she passed her mother’s house to go to the market and observed the kitchen window, which would normally be opened, locked.
She said that she made nothing of the observation and went looking for her mother at the market, which she frequents. She did not find her mother. Basmattie said that she later received a call from one of her mother’s neighbours who asked of her to check on her mother, since she was not seen cleaning the yard, which was something she would normally do.
The woman told the court that she rushed over to her mother’s house where she saw a key stuck in the padlock on the front gate. As a result, she said that her brother and nephew jumped over the gate to her mother’s yard from where they entered the house through a side door that was left opened.
At this stage, Basmattie became emotional and starting sobbing. She recalled how she found her mother lying motionless in a pool of blood inside the kitchen with a wound to her head.
The police were summoned, she added. Once there, she stated that police ranks inquired of her if her mother was having problems with anyone and she replied in the affirmative.
According to the witness, her mother had been involved in a land issue with some neighbours, but that matter was settled a long time ago by the courts.
Further, she added that police ranks also inquired of her if the property had cameras and she told them “yes.” The ranks went to the upper flat of the building where they reviewed CCTV footage from which she saw the “bandit’s foot”, she said she cried after seeing this and immediately ran downstairs.
Rex Mangru, an engineer, and neighbour of Danrasie Ganesh, also testified. The man, who told the court he resides at Lot 150 Montrose, East Coast Demerara, testified to knowing the deceased for about 20 years. According to him, she was his western neighbour.
Mangru told the court that on August 1, 2015 around 06:00hrs, he came out to clean his yard and did not notice Danrasie, who would normally be out earlier cleaning her yard also.
He said that a few hours elapsed and after not seeing or hearing from her, he phoned her daughter and asked her to check on her mother who was not responding to neighbours who had been calling out for her.
According to the witness, the woman’s daughter came over and the two of them along with other relatives rushed into the house where they found her lying in a pool of blood inside the kitchen.
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