Sunday, January 21, 2018

Cops block pastor’s cremation

Relatives question identity of remains...

New information reaching the police has prevented the funeral service and cremation of Evangelical pastor Vishnu “Kitty” Lutchmansingh from taking place today, as it was initially scheduled.

Police sources told the Express yesterday relatives of the 54-year-old pastor were denied permission to hold the cremation ceremony, as investigators wanted to cultivate DNA samples from the charred remains, as well as from Lutchmansingh’s own children, in a bid to ensure, with 100 per cent certainty, the body was indeed that of the Evangelical pastor.

Police sources noted the remains, which were last held at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, were so severely burnt that a shadow of doubt was cast on the identification process which took place on Tuesday at the centre.

Because of this, police sources noted, the body was kept an additional day for samples to be secured.

The doubt only grew yesterday, when certain relatives of Lutchmansingh told investigators they believed it was possible the body may not be that of the pastor.

As a result of these factors, police sources told the Express yesterday they could not allow the cremation ceremony to take place.

“We have to treat this information in the appropriate manner and with care. Now while the evidence, as it lays right now, strongly points to the body which was found on Monday at the Las Lomas home to being that of Mr Vishnu Lutchmansingh, including the facts that no one else but the pastor was seen entering or leaving the home during the fire, or prior to that incident; and that the gun which was used to commit the fatal injuries on the body and was found next to the corpse does indeed match the description of the weapon which was previously handled by Mr Lutchmansingh, some relatives have addressed concerns about the identity of the body.

“Also, because of the severity of burns suffered by the body which was found at the home, identification was indeed made more difficult. So the police are just exhausting all options for the sake of a complete investigation before we proceed, and this is why permission was not granted,” explained a senior police official yesterday, who spoke under the condition of anony­mity.

To this end, police sources also told the Express a team of investigators had returned to the home yesterday afternoon to conduct further enquiries and to take a closer look at the ruins of the home.

Initial police reports indicated on Monday morning Lutchmansingh went to a garden along David Toby Trace, Chin Chin Road, Cunupia, which belonged to his brother, Kishan Lutchmansingh, 44. Without warning, Vishnu shot Kishan several times in the head and chest, killing him on the spot.

Vishnu Lutchmansingh then made his way to his Savary Extension Road, Las Lomas #1, home, where he proceeded to burn down the building while still inside. Before he went home, along the way, he also attempted to run over one of his nephews with his vehicle.

Kishan Lutchmansingh’s funeral is expected to take place today at 9 a.m. at the home along David Toby Trace, Cunupia. Investigations are continuing.