Flashback: Simone Williams is comforted by friends as she weeps during the funeral for her daughter, Keyana Cumberbatch (inset), at the Council of Elders Spiritual Shouter Baptist Empowerment Hall in Maloney on December 4. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

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I WANT JUSTICE

Mom of slain Keyana, 6, asks why no court appearance yet for suspect

By Rickie Ramdass rickie.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

SIMONE WILLIAMS, the 27-year-old mother of slain six-year old Keyana Cumberbatch, is asking why the suspect charged with the killing has not yet appeared in court.

In an interview at the Express House, Independence Square, Port of Spain yesterday she described it as an instance of “justice dragging.” Williams was accompanied by her step-mother Caroline Prime.

The suspect has been in police custody for almost three weeks and was charged with murder since Tuesday evening, but the man accused of murdering the child is yet to have his day in court.

The 28-year-old relative of the dead girl remained warded at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope last night having suffered an asthma attack last Thursday.

It was the second asthma attack he has suffered since being arrested on November 26, the day after Keyana went missing from her Maloney home.

But Williams and her (Williams) step mother Caroline Prime yesterday said the man never had a history with the disease.

“Never, never, never did he ever suffer from asthma before so we don’t know where that came from” said Prime.

They said they felt he was faking to avoid being taken to court.

They said they wanted to know why the man had not as yet been taken before a magistrate.

On the day of his arrest, the man was taken to hospital after he started gasping for air, police had reported. Three days later he was discharged and handed back to detectives investigating the case.

Last week Thursday, officers approached Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard SC, who advised them to lay the murder charge.

However, later that day, the man again fell ill and was taken back to hospital. Police said they were waiting for him to be released from the health institution before laying the charge, but on Tuesday, five days after the directive was given and while he was still warded, officers went to the hospital and laid the charge at his bedside.

Williams briefly stated yesterday  she was seeking justice for her dead child by having the man taken before the court as soon as possible. She said, in recent days she had not been contacted by police regarding the status of the investigation and was only made aware that the man was charged as a result of media reports.

“I’m looking for justice soon. I think the tragedy Keyana went through deserves justice for myself and for her two sisters. Justice has been dragging. It is being prolonged,” she said. A blow to the head resulted in the child being killed, an autopsy concluded. The report stated she was also sexually assaulted either when she was unconscious or already dead.

Williams has two other daughters: Brianna, three and Tianna, ten months.

Apart from this statement, throughout most of the interview Williams remained silent. The tears rolled down her cheeks and she silently wiped them away.

Prime said, since Keyana went missing and found dead three days later in a shipping barrel in her own apartment, Williams has been unable to cope with the loss.

She has been unable to go back to work at Club Princess in Port of Spain, where she was employed as a dealer, said Prime.

“She is shaking, and she is already battling sickle cell (anaemia). This disease does mash her up. Sometimes she can’t walk or do anything to help herself. Imagine a situation like this where her stomach was not tolerating food, so she couldn’t take her medicine and the blood count dropped flat, the blood pressure went extremely low,” she said.

Prime said the family has already organised for Williams to undergo counselling as she tries to come to terms with the loss of her eldest daughter.

Questioned on the relationship the man had with the children, Prime said he never showed any signs of violence towards them.

“The whole community of Maloney was in shock because this individual never showed any signs of violence to any of the children. He was always very protective and very caring. When it actually came out that it was him that did this I said in it can’t be. I still can’t understand it,” she said.

Prime stated that Brianna would usually hold fluent conversations with her dead sister.

“When we heard that we couldn’t believe it. “Imagine this little three-year-old holding a conversation with her dead loved one. She would hold fluent conversations, normal...normal, and when she’s finished with the conversation she would say ‘bye bye’. So we know that Keyana is still corresponding with us.

“She would call out her name ‘Keyana, you know what when I wake up? I see how the police come inside the house and ransacked the apartment looking for you. I see when they arrested... and take him away and I see how the police take the barrel with them,’” Prime said Brianna would say.

“But sometimes when she ask were is Keyana, we would still have to try to explain to her that Keyana is in heaven now. That she is now doing Jesus’ work,” said Prime.


TIMELINE


November 25: Keyana goes missing.

November 26: Suspect arrested.

November 26: Suspect admitted to hospital after suffering asthma attack.

November 28: Suspect discharged from hospital.

November 28: Keyana’s body found stuffed in a barrel in her own apartment.

December 5: DPP gives directive to investigators to lay murder charge.

December 5: Suspect suffers another asthma attack. Taken back to hospital.

December 10: Officers charge and fingerprint suspect while still warded at hospital.

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