Tuesday, January 23, 2018

‘Child’s body sexually violated’

murder of 6-year-old keyana


Autopsy report: Forensic pathologist Dr Valerie Alexandrov speaks yesterday to the media outside the Forensic Science Centre, Long Circular Road, St James. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES

Mark Fraser

SIX-YEAR-OLD Keyana Cumberbatch was struck on the head by someone using a heavy blunt instrument. In addition, the autopsy found it was after being killed or becoming unconscious her body was then sexually violated.

The preliminary examination also concluded the child had not been sexually assaulted immediately prior to her death, forensic pathologist Dr Valerie Alexandrov said yesterday.

After doing the autopsy, Alexandrov confirmed the blow to Keyana’s head was so severe and the trauma to her skull was so extensive, “the skull fracture extended to the base of the skull which showed that significant force was applied.”

A police detective in a bright yellow polo-shirt attempted to prevent the media from interviewing Dr Alexandrov but he intervened, citing public interest and the need for media to have accurate information.

The blow was so severe, Alexandrov said, it could only be compared to injuries sustained during a motor-vehicle accident and, “it would not have been a survivable one”.

Asked if a fall could have produced such injury, Alexandrov said “No.” He said he would do further tests with tissue samples to determine whether there had been sexual assault anytime in the past.

The murdered girl’s mother, Simone Williams, along with her (Williams’s) step-father, Simon Harrison, and other relatives were at the Forensic Science Centre, Long Circular Road, St James, yesterday.

The child’s biological father, Kevon Cumberbatch, was not there.

A man who was said to be a “friend” of her mother remained in police custody up to last night.

At Forensic yesterday the family kept mostly to themselves but at least on two occasions Simone Williams was seen walking through the car-park crying. One or two relatives ran after her.

“I don’t want you standing too close to the road,” a woman was heard telling Williams and, as the relative held Williams, the 27-year-old mother collapsed and had to be helped towards a parked car where she was placed in the back seat.

Harrison, however, spoke to reporters after the autopsy results were received.

“We cannot believe that she was sexually assaulted and right now I cannot even explain how I am feeling,” he said. He too, quickly left after the results had been received.

Later in the afternoon, the Express visited Building 4 in Maloney where the family lives and we were told by a member of the community that a female relative had disclosed the fatal blow to Keyana’s head had been rendered with a baton.

The community member explained that when Williams detected a foul scent in her apartment Thursday she began a thorough search that eventually led to the shipping barrel in which Keyana’s body was found.

She had begun to empty the barrel when she came upon the child’s hand sticking upwards and immediately ran out of the house to the Maloney police post, the resident said.

Officers from the post accompanied her back to the apartment, having also called police in Port of Spain.

The story began on Monday when the child was reported missing by her mother to the Maloney police who told her she needed to wait 24 hours before they could act on a missing-person report.

The child was last seen alive at 5.20 p.m. on Monday after she returned from St Barbara’s Shouter Baptist Primary School in Maloney, where she was a standard two pupil.

She left to visit her grandmother who lives a short distance away.

The male friend of her mother’s was later seen with the child following which she disappeared.

—additional reporting

by Kim Boodram