GUNMEN killed Merle “Ie” Singh on her 65th birthday yesterday in Moruga, where they beat up her 24-year-old partially disabled grandson and his brother, 30, during a home invasion. Singh, the mother of two, who lived at Moruga Road in Cachipe Village, was shot once in the chest at about 4.20 am.
She lived with her two grandsons and their mother Michelle. Michelle has physical and mental disabilities and cannot walk or speak. Despite the loud commotion in the unfinished house, relatives said Michelle was unaware of her mother’s death. Owing to a medical condition Singh’s grandson Michael, 24, has a hunchback and had to undergo surgery.
Her other grandson Ryan told Newsday that Singh was like a second mother to them. He said he was awakened at 4.20 am when he heard Singh shouting, “Thief, thief,” and the sounds of people trying to break down the front door. Ryan ran and pushed the door to keep it closed. But the gunmen ran to the back and fired three shots at a piece of plywood being used as a door, as the house is under construction.
“She was shot in the chest and two bullets hit the fridge. Blood was everywhere on the ground. They started to search everywhere. They said they were giving me five seconds to give them the cash. The lil’ savings I had to try to put up a roof, they take that. My mother is disabled and was sleeping,” he said.
Michael was sleeping on a couch and the killers – two armed with guns and another with a cutlass – beat the brothers and ransacked the house before leaving with cash and personal valuables. In 2007, Singh’s sister Ann Marie Singh, 53, was bludgeoned to death at her home a stone’s throw away. A man was charged with the murder and the matter is pending.
One neighbour said the shots at Singh’s home rang out at exactly 4.20 am and there was no getaway car. “They are on foot. Whoever did this know the bush, they know all the tracks. They took advantage of defenceless people like this. They are heartless, they could have killed Ryan and Michael too. Ie was looking forward to getting her pension.”
Singh’s mother Christiana Clarke, 92, lives nearby and heard the shots. With tears in her eyes, Clarke said: “Today is the girl’s birthday and they killed her. She brought the ice cream here. She told us she was going to spend the day by a friend today and when she comes back, we would eat the ice cream and cake here.”
The mother of nine, Clarke has outlived six of her children, two of whom were murdered. Moruga police and other officers from the Southern Division and Homicide Bureau Region III visited the scene and investigations are continuing.