3 charged for Henry cousins’ murders, to make court appearance today
– murders stemmed from destroyed ganja farm
– suspects lead police to prime murder scene
After months of intense investigations, the Guyana Police Force on Thursday received legal advice to charge three suspects who are currently in custody for the gruesome murders of cousins, 16-year-old Isaiah Henry and 19-year-old Joel Henry.
On September 6, 2020 the mutilated bodies of Isaiah and Joel Henry were found in the backlands of Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice – almost two days after they had left their Number Three Village, WCB home to pick coconuts in the backlands, but never returned home. Their butchered bodies were found in clumps of bushes partially covered in mud, after relatives went in search of them.
On Thursday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) advised investigators to charge 19-year-old Akash Singh, called “Monkey,” of Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo (EBE); his stepbrother, 33-year-old Anil Sancharra, called “Dan pole” and “Rasta,” of D’ Edward Village, WCB; and 34-year-old Vinod Gopaul, called “Magga,” of Yakusari, Black Bush Polder, Corentyne, Berbice.
These suspects are expected to be arraigned this morning at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court for the heinous crime which took place between September 5 and 6, 2020.
Legal advice was sought after ranks from the GPF’s Major Crimes Unit had secured a video confession from Singh regarding the murders of the Henry cousins.
Guyana Times understands that Singh was arrested on Sunday last after Police received information. The others were then taken into custody the following day. This newspaper understands that, upon seeing the Police, Gopaul attempted to escape but was eventually apprehended.
Both he and Sancharra have remained silent, Head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Wendell Blanhum, told reporters on Thursday evening.
The Crime Chief had facilitated a group of reporters to view Singh’s confession video, given the sensitivity of the issue. Guyana Times had reported on Thursday that the Police have secured a confession, but persons, including some relatives of the murdered teenage boys, are skeptical about the arrests. In fact, one relative, while speaking to this newspaper, had questioned the connection between the suspects who live in Essequibo and the other who lives on the Corentyne.
However, in addition to the video confession from Singh, the Police also obtained statements from two separate persons, including a relative to whom he had confessed to killing the “two boys” on separate occasions.
In the hour-long confession video, Singh told the Police that he had accompanied
Anil and “Magga” to the West Coast Berbice backlands sometime in August to cultivate cannabis. He said Anil and Magga had obtained the ganja from someone.
They then left the area and returned in September, but when they arrived at the farm, it was destroyed along with a makeshift camp and food items they had left behind. Singh told the Police that everything was sprayed with gramoxone – a chemical herbicide.
According to Singh, Magga and Anil started to use indecent language and decided to go to the individual they had collected the ganja plants from. But on the way, they met the man’s workers who said their ganja was destroyed and weeds stolen, and started to assault them.
However, the three suspects related that their farm was also damaged, and took them there to prove it.
Singh said that they were then taken to the man who had given them the ganja plants, and while there, both Magga and Anil declared that they will “chop up” whoever destroyed their crop.
At that point, Singh said, the man told them that two “wicked black boys” does go in the backdam and destroy their “things”, and eat out their foods.
The suspect said that they spent the night there, and the following morning, when they woke up, he again heard the other two suspects scheming about what they will do to whomever destroyed the ganja farm.
He said some time after, while he was in the camp, he heard Magga and Anil’s voices. There were other voices as well, and as such, he went to check who they were speaking with.
Singh told investigators that he saw Magga and Anil with two boys, and gave descriptions matching the Henry cousins. He said the four of them were smoking weed and communicating when Magga raised the issue about the damaged weed. It was at that time that the “two boys” looked at each other and started to laugh.
According to Singh, Magga then said to them that “I talking about my things being destroy and “y’all laughing, y’all gon feel pain”.
Singh said at that point the “tall one” get up and Magga dealt him a chop to the neck with a cutlass and he started to bleed. The suspect added that Anil then chop the second boy to his neck also. He related that the two men kept firing chops about the bodies of the two young boys.
Singh said the boys’ bodies started “trembling” and then Anil and Magga turned to him to say that if he (Singh) does not join them, they will also kill him.
Singh related that he took a cutlass and started chopping at the two teens, and he marked an ‘X’ on the forehead of one of the boys while Anil did the same to the other boy.
He then told the Police that Anil and Magga left the camp with the bodies on a horseback, while he stayed back at the camp.
This is consistent with initial Police findings that the area where the bodies of the teenage bodies were found was not the prime crime scene, but they were merely dumped there.
After his confession, Singh took investigators to the camp, and he pointed out where the murders took place.
According to the Crime Chief, only someone who is familiar with the area could have found the camp.
In the meantime, investigators are working aggressively to tie up the loose ends to ascertain the veracity of Singh’s confession.
Meanwhile, the Police say Gopaul, called Magga, is a known character with criminal background dating back to his teenage years.
He was first taken into prison at the age of 14 back in 2004, when he was accused of murdering his father, whom he reportedly shot dead.
Then in August 2007, Gopaul was among 18 prisoners who escaped from the New Amsterdam Prison. He was recaptured not long after in East Bank Berbice, but escaped a second time in June 2011. He was 19 at the time, and was among four prisoners who fled the New Amsterdam Prison.
He was rearrested during a Police dragnet. The cops had raided his home, and after seeing the Police, he made an attempt to escape by fleeing into the backlands, but ended up running into the Police dragnet.
More recently, however, Gopaul was sentenced to 18 months in his absence. He was then arrested in May 2019 during a cordon-and-search exercise, and at the time had 15 grams of cannabis in his possession. He was also wanted for questioning in a narcotics’ trafficking matter.
Additionally, Gopaul was also wanted for questioning in relation to several matters of robbery under arms.
The murders of the Henry cousins had sparked protests across several villages along the West Coast Berbice corridor, where commuters were beaten and robbed. With roads blocked, some vehicles were also torched.
Then days later, on September 9, 17-year-old Haresh Singh was found murdered at the Number Three Village backlands. It is suspected that his death was in retaliation for the murders of Isaiah and Joel, since he is related to one of the persons initially held by the Police for the cousins’ murders.
However, the Police are yet to make any breakthrough in that case.