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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Parika Backdam murders

Suspect confesses to torching home

-said he was being cheated out of property

A 29-year-old carpenter has reportedly confessed to killing an elderly woman and her two grand-daughters on Tuesday by causing them to be burned alive in their home at Parika Backdam, Essequibo .

Police sources said that the suspect broke down yesterday and revealed that he had torched the house because he was being cheated out of the property.

“He said that he hadn't intended to kill anyone, just to burn the house down,” a source said.

Police have also reportedly spoken with residents who alleged that they saw the suspect and another man fleeing from the area shortly after a ‘channa-bomb' exploded in the house.

Victoria Benjamin, 65, her grand-daughters, Devika Bowling, aged three, and one-year-old Anida Bowling were burned alive as they slept on a bed in the one-bedroom house, which has been at the centre of a dispute.

The children's mother, Glarey Bowling, 42, was also severely burnt, although she jumped through a window to escape the flames.

She was still in a critical condition yesterday.

The suspect is a close associate of Bowling's 19-year-old daughter, Onika Benjamin, and it is believed that she was the intended target of the attack. However, she was not at home when the building was torched.

In an interview with Kaieteur News on Tuesday, Onika Benjamin said that the suspect had provided some of the materials for the house and had even assisted in building it.

However, after the house was completed, her relatives occupied the house.

She said that the relationship between herself and the suspect soured and he began to threaten to harm her family and to burn down the property.

The woman claimed that she had filed complaints at the Parika Police Station about the suspect's behaviour.

One of the survivors, 12-year-old Jason Bowling, recalled that he was sleeping in the house with his mother, grandmother and six other siblings when he was awakened by intense heat and saw “the whole house” in flames.

He said that he and four of his siblings managed to flee from the house, while his mother, whose clothes were in flames, jumped through a window.

A neighbour recalled being awakened by a crashing sound and looking outside to see the Bowling's home ablaze.

She said that the children's mother, Glarey Bowling, who had jumped through a window, was lying on the ground and screaming from severe burns to most of her body.

Residents managed to douse the flames and it was then that they saw the charred bodies of Victoria Benjamin and her two grandchildren inside.

A resident used a cellular phone to contact police at the Parika Police Station and ranks arrived at the scene shortly after.

An ambulance eventually arrived and took the badly burned Glarey Bowling to the Georgetown Hospital.

Kaieteur News