victim's aunt: Anna Jattan leaves the San Fernando High Court with her son Michael after she gave evidence in the Amy Annamunthodo murder trial yesterday. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

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Aunt tells of child's speech problem

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

ANNA Jattan testified yesterday against the man charged with murdering her infant niece, Amy Emily Annamunthodo.

Jattan told the court about being taken to the Forensic Science Centre in St James and shown the bruised body of the four-year-old girl. She also said that Amy never spoke "properly".

Jattan testified for 15 minutes yesterday in the murder trial of Marlon King who is on trial for killing Amy, his step-daughter.

The trial is being heard before Justice Anthony Carmona and a jury of 12 and six alternates in the San Fernando Second Criminal Court.

She was the fourth State witness to be called.

The State's case, led by attorney Mauriceia Joseph, is that on May 15, 2006—eight days after the child's birthday—King killed Amy in a house in Marabella.

Joseph, in opening the case, said King cuffed the child 20 times in the chest while she was "strung up by her hair, hanging".

Joseph said some of the child's injuries were to her head, chest and abdomen, including her scalp and neck, fracture to her right rib, haemorrhaging in her heart and lungs and rupture to the atrium of her heart, contusions to her liver and spleen and bleeding of her kidney.

Attorney El Farouk Hosein and Dereck Dindial are defending King.

Jattan testified yesterday that the day Amy died, she went to the Forensic Science Centre where she met her (Jattan's) mother, Chanardai Basdeo, and Amy's biological father.

She said at the centre, she also met two policemen and pathologist Dr Hughvon Des Vignes. He took them into a room and showed Amy lying on a tray.

Jattan told the court there were bruises on the body. The next time Jattan saw the child was at the funeral home, she said.

A funeral was held at Basdeo's home in Marabella and Amy was buried at a cemetery in Marabella, Jattan testified.

Jattan said she interacted with Amy while she was alive.

"Could she speak?" Joseph asked.

Jattan replied, "For her age, she never spoke properly".

Jattan, of Couva, was the lone person to take the witness stand yesterday.

The case adjourned early as the Justice Carmona said he had a matter to deal with in Port of Spain.

Before adjourning the case, Carmona told the jury to remain "clinical and objective" as they hear evidence in the case. He said while jurors were humans and not expected to be cold-hearted, a child's death always evokes feelings of empathy.

He told jurors to "divorce emotions from the facts".

On Thursday, Amy's grandmother wept on the witness stand after being shown a photograph of the child.

Police photographer Veano Ragoo and police draughtsman Gregory Hood have also testified.

The trial is expected to continue on Monday.

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