‘Person of interest’ in Penal double homicide surrenders

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The “person of interest” in the double homicide of a Penal woman and her 12-year-old son has surrendered to the police.

The 35-year-old man gave himself up shortly before 3 pm on Wednesday.

“He is innocent,” a relative said by phone.

Newsday learnt that attorneys Kiran Panday and Surya Deonarine accompanied the man to the Homicide Bureau Region III office in San Fernando.

Investigators immediately detained him. The police were expected to take him to the San Fernando General Hospital. They were also expected to interview him.

Insp Maharaj of the Homicide Bureau Region III is leading the investigation.

Abeo Cudjoe, 31, and her son Levi Lewis were attacked at the family’s home at Latchoos Road after 1 am on Tuesday.

The mother died in the house after being chopped and stabbed. The boy was stabbed in the neck but managed to walk for about ten minutes to alert his grandfather, Phillip Harewood, 62, at Penal Rock Road. He later died in hospital.

Levi was a student of St Dominic’s RC School in Penal.

Cudjoe’s other child, a three-year-old boy, was asleep in the house. He was not harmed.

She had a restraining order against the detained man, whom she repeatedly accused of abusing her.

Adriana Sandrine Isaac-Rattan, president of the NGO International Women’s Resource Network (IWRN), charged that protection orders are “completely useless” and a “waste of time.”

She told Newsday,”There are more than 25 women who had restraining orders killed in the last three years. Our research shows that usually when perpetrators get knowledge about the orders, the victims are killed in less than 14 days.

“Why do we, as a nation, do the same thing repeatedly when it comes to domestic violence and expect different results? It is unfortunate and shows we do not care.”

She issued a press statement later on Wednesday recalling that on June 21, 2018, the IWRN forwarded correspondence to the then Attorney General, Faris Al-Rawi, asking for amendments to Part V –Enforcement Orders of the Domestic Violence Act, 1999.

The statement said to date nothing had been done.

“Those amendments aim to ensure that perpetrators who breach protection orders feel the full brunt of the law starting with the first attempt of the breach.

“Additionally, when victims are under the umbrella of a protection order, there need to be state protocols in place to ensure that they are properly protected, but again that is also absent.”