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Thursday, June 08, 2006

By Jeune Bailey Van-Keric

DEATH BED: Ramesh Sarabjit points to the bed where the teen was slain

A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD girl, a night companion for an elderly female neighbour for years, was yesterday morning brutally raped and her throat slashed by unknown men who invaded the house at Bangal Street, Plantation Warren, Corentyne, Berbice.

Roshni Pertabsingh was writing the Caribbean Secondary Certificate Examinations now under way and had been a companion at nights for her neighbour, Budhia, also known as ‘Dodo Girl’, 65, whose husband has been living for six months a year in the United States.

Neighbours hearing shouts from the house around midnight, said when they got there, they found the student on a bed with her throat slashed. Her underwear had been pulled down to her ankles and there were cuts about her private parts, they said.

They said the attackers bound the hands and feet of the old lady with electrical wire. Budhia said they also gagged her mouth but she managed to work the gag aside and shout for help.

The teen’s mother, Bhojmattie Pertabsingh, said Roshni, about three years ago, began sleeping at Budhia’s home.

She recalled that the neighbour went to their house at about 18:30 h Tuesday for her daughter.

“I did not finish preparing dinner, but she said it was alright as she will give the girl some fried rice”, she said.

According to the mother, Roshni was a bit hesitant in going but she urged her to go as the neighbour was elderly and needed company.

The grieving mother recalled that while sleeping at about 00:30 h yesterday, she was awakened by shouts from other neighbours that invaders were in Budhia’s house.

She said she and her husband went over to the house, four house lots away, where she called for her daughter but got no answer.

She said she went to the upper flat of the two-storeyed building and moving through the home which was in darkness, she got to the bedroom occupied by her daughter.

The mother said that when she reached the bed, she turned her daughter over on her back and felt something cold and sticky, like blood.

Fearing that the girl, her third child, was dead, she rushed downstairs to tell her husband.

Ramesh Sarabjit, a neighbour, said he heard shouts of “Thief! Thief!” at about 23:45 h and armed with a cutlass, went over to the house of Budhia, his uncle’s wife.

He said she was not at home when he got there but the doors were open and he went to a bedroom where he saw the teen lying with her underwear pulled to her ankles. The man said the girl’s throat was slit and there were several chops on her private parts.

Sarabjit said he rushed to the Nazarene Church on the main road where he rung the bell, alerting villagers to the tragedy.

He explained that the villagers had collectively agreed that whenever there was an incident in the village, the church bell must be rung as a warning.

Next door neighbour Onawattie Kalicharran was awakened when Budhia called out to her.

She said she saw that the woman’s hands were bound with electrical wire. According to her, Budhia stated that her mouth had been gagged and her feet were also bound but she managed to loosen herself.

Neighbours felt two persons had entered the house but no forced point of entry had been identified up to late yesterday.

Budhia was not at home when the Guyana Chronicle visited yesterday morning as she had gone to the New Amsterdam Hospital to seek medical attention

Her relatives said it was not known where or how the men entered the house which has protective grill work. This newspaper was also informed that nothing was stolen from the home.

Roshni’s best friend, Sapna Seemangal, also a student of Berbice Educational Institute, told this newspaper that when she received a telephone call yesterday morning, she thought that her friend was playing a prank with her, as she had planned to attend the Guyana School of Agriculture on completing her secondary education, but Roshni was not in agreement.

However, on visiting the home, some four miles away, it was confirmed that her best friend of four years had been killed.

Seemangal said her friend had once confided in her about a relationship which she wanted to end after discovering that the boyfriend had other relationships.

Police have taken Roshni’s personal diary.

Roshni had completed writing six of the eight subjects she had entered for the current exams.

She leaves to mourn four siblings and her parents Madan and Bhojmattie Pertabsingh.

Guyana Chronicle