AN autopsy done on 49-year-old Ashdale Mc Hutchinson, who was beaten to a state of unconsciousness by a group of Oropune Gardens residents last Wednesday and died four days later, showed he died from blows to the head.
As a result, police have initiated a murder investigation with the vigilantes who beat him being deemed people of interest in the matter.
Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams yesterday confirmed the investigation in a release sent to the media. Williams cautioned the public against vigilantism, saying that while the law provides authority for citizens to make an arrest, those provisions do not authorise citizens to use more force than necessary.
Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon also issued a release extending condolences to Mc Hutchinson’s family, and encouraged citizens to respect the rule of law when trying to execute a citizen’s arrest.
Dillon said law enforcement officers should have been immediately called instead of residents taking the matter into their own hands.
Mc Hutchinson, of Bon Air Gardens, Arouca, was reportedly in Oropune Gardens visiting relatives when he went in search of a parlour to buy a cigarette. While on the road, he met a six-year-old girl, and while he was speaking to the child, the mother approached him and accused him of trying to lure the child away.
After a scuffle, which attracted other residents, the man ran into nearby bushes. The residents set fire to the bushes in an attempt to flush him out. When he ran out, the residents grabbed him, stripped him down to his T-shirt and boxers and beat him. His relatives said, during the beating residents stole a phone, a pair of sneakers and a quantity of cash.
By the time police arrived, he was in a semi-conscious state. He was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where he died just before midday on Sunday. Relatives said they will begin making funeral arrangements today.