Saturday, December 16, 2017

Pool table had ‘no blood, foul smell’

THERE were no signs of blood on the pool table on which the State is contending Chaguanas businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was murdered in December 2006.

Also, there was no foul smell coming from the table, which was found in a small red-brick house at La Puerta, Diego Martin, in January 2007, that aroused Supt Anthony James’s suspicion that Naipaul-Coolman may have been killed on the table.

Supt James made these statements in response to questions posed to him while under cross-exa­mination by defence attorney Mario Merritt, as the murder trial into the Xtra Foods Supermarket chief executive officer continued yesterday before Justice Malcolm Holdip and a 12-member jury at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.

The State is seeking to prove Naipaul-Coolman was kept in the house for several days after being kidnapped from her home on December 19, 2006, before being placed to sit on the table, shot once in the chest and then cut into pieces with an electric saw, after which her body parts were placed in garbage bags and disposed of.

James was the officer who led a team of other officers to the red-brick house around 5 a.m. on January 6, 2007, where he said several items, including a bedsheet with blood stains, three cutlasses and cellular phones, were seized.

Three of the 12 men who are currently charged with the murder were also in the house at the time when police arrived on the scene, James testified.

James said the pool table which was found in one of the bedrooms was examined by crime-scene investigators, but he was unawa­re of the fin­dings, if any. He returned to the house on May 9, 2007, to carry out further investigations, but the pool table was not in the house on that occasion, James testified.

James previously gave evidence that one of the officers involved in the search on May 9 found a roll of duct tape in a pot on top a stove, but admitted yesterday that neither the officer’s signature nor the date the item was found was placed in the police evi­dence bag.

The homicide officer said his purpose for going to the house on those occasions was to assist in the investigation into Naipaul-Coolman’s kidnapping and not murder, even though cadaver dogs (dogs that are trained to locate and follow the scent of decomposing human flesh) formed part of the exercise when questioned by Merritt.

Under further cross-examination by defence attorney Joseph Pantor, James said he was not aware of the circumstances surrounding Naipaul-Coolman’s kidnapping.

Asked by Pantor if he did not seek information from his senior offi­cers on the circumstances, James said he did not and was only following the instructions given to him.

The officer also denied giving directions to police photographer PC Bruce James to not take any photographs inside the room where the pool table was found.

“That is totally untrue, counsel. That is totally untrue,” testified Supt James.

The trial will resume this morning, when the officer will be further cross-examined by Pantor and other defence attorneys.