Diego Martin shopkeeper murdered

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Steve Harding 61, shop-keeper was strangled to death during a home-invasion at his Diego Martin home on the morning of March 27. – Photo by Roger Jacob

A 60-year-old shopkeeper identified as Steve Harding was murdered during an early-morning robbery at his home on March 28.

Harding, who lived alone, was found around 3.30 am at his home at Salandy Street, Diego Martin, by his brother-in-law, who lives upstairs.

A visibly shaken Bridget Harding, the sister of the murdered man, spoke to Newsday at his shop and described him as quiet and peaceful.

She said her son, who sleeps in a room next to Steve’s apartment, woke up around 3 am to muffled sounds. He left his room to investigate and a gunman pointed a gun at him and ordered him back to his room, where he was tied up with duct tape.

Her son, whose name she did give, waited till he heard four gunmen leave before shouting for help.

Harding’s husband, Junior McCloud, heard the screams and went to check on him.

He saw his son tied up and after freeing him, both men went to check on Steve. They saw his front door open and called out to him, but he did not answer.

The men went into Steve’s apartment, where they found him lying with his hands tied behind his back and his head covered with duct tape.

Police believe he may have suffocated during the robbery because his mouth and nose were covered.

His sister called the crime situation “ridiculous” and did not believe the police would solve her brother’s murder.

“They took an innocent man’s life.

“He would have celebrated his 61st birthday in June.”

Harding said she is shaken up and fearful for her own life.

Steve’s niece, who did not give her name, described her uncle as a quiet man who loved sports and exercising. She said he often went for evening walks.

She said his shop was robbed about seven times last year, but none of the robberies were solved. Despite this, she said her uncle never expressed any fear for his life.

On March 6, 54-year-old Vince Decle was shot outside his home at River Estate, Diego Martin.

A neighbour on her way home saw Decle lying on the ground and flagged down a passing car. The driver, along with other people, went back to him and called the police. Decle was taken to the St James Hospital, where he later died.

No one has been arrested for Decle’s murder and investigations into both are ongoing.