Jan 07, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Kenford Downer, the man who allegedly burnt his wife and children alive last December, yesterday made his first court appearance and was remanded to prison.
The defendant, who was at the Bartica Magistrate’s Court, appeared virtually before Magistrate Crystal Lambert in the Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate’s Court.
He was not required to plead to the indictable offence, which alleged that on December 12, 2020 at Four Miles Squatting Area, Potaro Road, Bartica, he murdered Carolina Kennedy, 48, a housewife, and their two daughters – five-year-old Mariana and three-year-old Gabriella Kennedy – during the course or furtherance of arson.
The defendant is expected to make his next court appearance on January 27, 2021.
According to information, Downer was hospitalized at the Bartica Regional Hospital and was being treated for injuries he sustained during the fire.
After spending almost four weeks in hospital, he was on Monday discharged and taken into custody.
Last week, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, S.C., advised the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to lay charges against Downer.
According to a police report, at around 21:30 hrs. on December 12, 2020, an unknown caller telephoned the Bartica Police Station and reported a fire. The fire service was alerted and dispatched to the area.
However, a fire truck was unable to reach the location and a bucket brigade was formed. When police and fire service ranks arrived, the wooden structure was completely engulfed in flames.
After the fire was extinguished, the ranks discovered the charred remains of Kennedy and her two daughters in the southeastern corner of the house. The bodies of the victims were subsequently removed, and transported to the Bartica Hospital Mortuary.
A search was launched for Downer and he was discovered in some bushes in close proximity to the house. While he was being placed in the back of a police vehicle, the suspect admitted to the gruesome crime.
Based on information received, Kennedy and Downer had been living together for the past six months, and during that period, the woman had made several complaints to her mother about the suspect threatening her when he was intoxicated.
One week before the incident, Downer had allegedly threatened to burn the house down to kill Kennedy and her daughters. The woman was encouraged to report the matter to the police and she had planned to visit the station on Monday, December 14, 2020. She never made it.
Downer was previously convicted in 2018 for assaulting Kennedy.
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