Friday, February 23, 2018

'Abuse led to temporary insanity'

Man on trial for wife's 2003 killing...

MONTHS of emotional and physical abuse, combined with the suspicion of infidelity and the inability to reconcile his marriage with his wife of eight months, drove Vishwanath Sharma into a state of temporary insanity, resulting in him chopping her to death.

This was the testimony given by Sharma yesterday, in the Port of Spain High Court, before Justice Hayden St Clair Douglas as the defence in the murder trial opened its case.

Sharma, 49, has confessed to killing Georgiana Sookoo on the morning of October 24, 2003, at McShine Street, Sangre Grande, but noted in his testimony that his intention was never to harm the woman, but instead to have them reconcile their marriage which had gone awry by the intervention of a third person.

During his testimony, Sharma recalled the months leading up to Sookoo's death and the circumstances surrounding it. He is represented by defence attorney Daniel Khan.

Sharma said in 2000 he was deported from Canada after being convicted to a term of imprisonment after being found guilty to a charge of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. He left behind his first wife, Cynthia Sharma, and their four children, he said.

He said on his arrival in this country, he boarded a taxi at the Piarco International Airport, with the intention of going to his sister's home in Sangre Grande. It was when he arrived in Sangre Grande, Sharma said, he saw Sookoo, whom he knew since the 1970s, sitting at the side of the road before he approached and started speaking with her.

"I met the deceased that same evening and we ended up making love that same night," Sharma said. He said he proceeded to move in and live at Sookoo's residence and they maintained a healthy relationship for some time. We started loving each other. At one point in time, we were so close people would pass by and make comments like, 'Look at the two love birds looking so cute together'."

However, Sharma said the relationship started to suffer in 2002, when he came home from work one day and was greeted by an enraged Sookoo who had found a letter in his bag from his other wife in Canada.

"The atmosphere of love did not last. In 2002, things started to change. She said, 'You want to see crazy?' She pulled a cutlass from behind the wall and was about to chop me. I put my hand in the air to brace it and I got chopped on my left hand," he said.

Sookoo, he said, told him to pack his belongings and leave, which he did. He said he found an apartment in St Augustine but, soon enough, Sookoo came and asked him to move back in with her. Sharma said he agreed, and on February 27, 2003, they got married. It was from then, he said, that their relationship was on a steady downfall.

"Somewhere around April or May, I came home and saw one of her friends in the house with her. I asked her what was going on and she told me, 'This is my house and I can do what I want'," Sharma said.

He later revealed that the friend's name was Marvin Wilson—someone with whom Sookoo had a past relationship.

Sharma said in August of 2003 he and Sookoo went to the wedding of one of Sookoo's relatives, but Sookoo, he said, spent the entire night dancing with Wilson.

"When we returned home and went into the living room, I saw her sitting on the sofa. I told her I never had sex with a woman so beautiful. She said, 'Is that right?' and I said, 'Yeah.' I touched her leg and when I was about to kiss her, she pulled out a heater and hit me on my head. My head burst and I was bleeding," he said.

He said there was another instance in which Sookoo attacked and stabbed him with a knife. He said she would regularly make comments about his lack of ability in the bedroom, as compared to that of Wilson.

Sharma said he eventually left the house, but returned on the morning of October 24 to attempt reconciling the relationship. He said Sookoo again pulled a cutlass to attack him and he wrestled it away from her.

He said he placed the cutlass in his waist and they both proceeded outside the house to talk. "We hugged and she felt the cutlass in my waist. She tried to take it away from me, but I fought it away from her," he said.

He said following this he could only remember seeing Sookoo on the ground, bleeding from the face.

"I hate myself for causing such a thing to happen. I hate myself because when I started to run I should have continued running. I hate myself for leaving my house in St Augustine and moving back to Sangre Grande because this would not have happened," Sharma said.

The matter continues this morning.