Cops traumatised after Amarah’s murder

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Amarah Lallitte. –

So gruesome was the scene at the Fifth Street, Arouca home where four-year-old Amarah Lallitte was murdered that police officers were left traumatised.

On April 8, Lallitte was beheaded by a male relative during a domestic dispute.

On April 10, Supt Richard Smith told Newsday that the scene had a significant effect on the officers who processed it as it was something that many of them had never seen before.

“It was a traumatising thing to see,” Smith said.

He told Newsday he could see the distress on the faces of the first responders as they spoke to him at the scene. He noted that one of the officers was a woman constable.

“To go in and see something like that, especially if it is the first time that you have ever seen anything like that would be impactful and not in a good way,” he said.

“One of the first responders was a WPC and she saw this scene. I am not sure if she had a child as yet but even as a potential mother and a woman on the whole, to see that, it must have been a lot to take in. Along with the public we have to look after the health and welfare of our officers as well.”

He said from as early as the morning of April 9, counsellors treated police officers. Counselling was also provided for Lallitte’s relatives and neighbours who were close to the family.

While no charges have yet been laid against the man suspected of murdering Lallitte, Smith told Newsday the investigation is proceeding steadily. He said police officers and homicide detectives are working meticulously to have a solid case and officers are expected to approach the Director of Public Prosecutions within a few days.

“We don’t want to sacrifice the quality for speed,” he said. “We want to get it done properly. Yes, we understand the officers would have issues with what they saw and we are treating with that but we are doing a meticulous investigation.

“Homicide does have their pace that they go at, but they are moving at a good rate and we expect to get some advice and instructions quite soon.”

As for the suspect, police are not speculating on his mental health, but are treating him as a normal prisoner. He is being held at a station in the north-central division.

“If we believe he needs any medical attention we will take him for it, or any medical assessment he will be tested for that, but that is if we believe it is necessary. He is not being detained in any mental institution,” Smith said.

The home where Amarah Lallitte was murdered on Fifth Street, Arouca. – Photo by Venessa Mohammed

On the night of April 8, Lallitte’s mother and a male relative got into an altercation, forcing her to flee from their Arouca home, leaving little Amarah behind. She told Newsday they were both in the bedroom of the house when the man attacked her and tried to drag her into another room.

She ran to the police station alerted them and returned with police officers only to find the grizzly scene.

The mother along with the police escort found the child’s body in one of the rooms of the house. She said she had to look at the girl’s body a second time before she realised she was without a head.

Crime scene investigators who processed the murder scene found her head in a barrel in the house.

Two funeral homes – Dass Funeral Home of San Fernando and Resal’s in El Dorado – have offered to cover the expenses for Amarah’s funeral.