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Farmer killed in robbery at home

Found gagged, lying naked in pool of blood

By chase village \\\\\ Susan Mohammed susan.mohammed@trinidadexpress.com

A 72-year-old Chase Village garde­ner was found murdered on Wednesday in his home which had been burgled. 

The body of Ballyram Singh, a father of two, of Agostini Settlement, Limehead Road, was discovered by his female companion, Wakeeda Seetaram, who went to check on him after he did not respond to her phone calls. 

Police suspect Singh was killed by thieves since Monday night since his house was found ransacked, with appliances missing. His Honda Civic was also missing. 

An autopsy on Singh’s body yesterday found he died from suffocation as a T-shirt pulled over his head had blocked his air passages. 

Singh’s daughter-in-law, Paula Gosine-Singh, said he had been robbed on several previous occasions. 

According to a police report, Singh was last seen at around 5.30 p.m. on Monday by Seetaram when he dropped her off at her son’s home in Petersville, Chin Chin Road, Cunupia. 

Singh said over the next two days, she tried contacting him on his cellphone on several occasions but there was no answer. 

On Wednesday evening, Seetaram went to the house, saw the front door open and his car missing. 

She told police she entered the house and found it ransacked. Two televisions and other items were missing. 

In the living room, she found him with his hands bound behind his back and mouth gagged. He was lying naked on the floor in a pool of blood, and his face appeared to be have been bashed in. 

Officers of the Central Division Task Force, led by Senior Supt Johnny Abraham, Inspector Glen Teasedale and Sgt Jitendra Tooleram responded to the report. 

Neighbours expressed shock and horror over the killing of Singh, whom they said was a quiet person. 

Ralph Juman said he and Singh were neighbours for over 30 years. 

“We never heard anything strange here. It was only last night when I saw a crowd in the street and I asked what was happening that I knew something happened to him,” said Juman. 

“This is a real shock to us that crime has reached us on our doorsteps. If they wanted to rob him, then rob him, but why must they kill? He was an old man and he would not have put up a fight.”

Juman said Singh grew ve­getables using aquaponics, and sold his produce at the market.

Neighbours said Singh resided with his younger son, Sham Singh, who went to the US following the death of his older son, Vishnu Singh. 

Contacted by phone from the US, Vishnu Singh’s wife, Paula Gosine-Singh, said her father-in-law’s death was a “huge tragedy”. 

“I heard that some time ago, he was robbed in front of his house.... He didn’t fight back then, but he was a strong man. If he was attacked, he would have put up a fight,” said Gosine-Singh. 

An autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre in Federation Park yesterday, conducted by Dr Eslyn McDonald-Burris, found he died as a result of “asphyxia consequent upon suffocation”. 

Homicide detectives said yesterday there were no suspects in the killing.  

The murder of Ballyram Singh has taken the toll for the year to date to  261, according to an Express tally. At August 7 last year, the murder figure was 228.

 
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