THE policeman who surrendered to colleagues on Thursday after the death of his wife of 15 years, Vera Golabie, smiled as he stabbed her multiple times in the yard of their Cemetery Street, Matura home and then slit her throat.
After he committed the act, he threatened one of her sisters, then drove to a nearby bar, drank two beers, smoked a cigarette and finally went to the police station. This was the account relatives gave at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, speaking about Golabie’s death.
One of Golabie’s three sisters told Newsday that after years of abuse and making reports to the police, Golabie sought refuge at her mother’s house, but one interaction with her abuser led to her death. Relatives told Newsday Golabie was murdered in front of her siblings and her two children, five and seven.
Newsday was also told that Golabie was four months pregnant.
Golabie, 28, was at her mother’s house when her sister picked her up to go to her house, which was next door. While there she saw the constable and they spoke in front of their house. She walked off and was going back to her family when he called her back, smiling.
“They were talking and laughing and joking around,” a relative said. “And while they were talking, he just walked up to her and stabbed her. While he was laughing and talking, he kept stabbing her.”
Her brother and sister were on the road waiting. The children were nearby. No one knew what was happening until she called out to her sister in pain. “She told the sister, 'Take the two children and run! Just run!' and then she fell down. When they saw her fall they saw the blood.”
Golabie’s sister told Newsday the couple met a little over 15 years ago. She worked with the officer at a security firm. “I would stay at the dormitory in Arima. She came by me to stay for a while and he lived in an apartment next door,” she said. “She didn’t let me know at the time, but that is how they met.”
They started dating and eventually got married under Muslim rites. But soon after the marriage Golabie came face to face with the constable’s true nature.
“He always used to abuse her. It is not now that this is going on. He would be unfaithful and bring the person home with him. He hit her with a car, and left her hand in a cast. But she still stayed with him.”
After a number of years she confided to her sister that she couldn’t take any more.
She reached out to a sergeant at the Matura Police Station, where he worked, and told him about the situation. The Gender Based Violence Unit quickly stepped in and assisted her in separating from the constable.
Police also offered to provide her with a safe house, but she said she would be safe with her mother, so she moved and into her mother’s house. But the separation did not keep him away.
“He would threaten to sell the house, and she would tell him to go ahead, because the house was his. She would tell him although the land was hers, she didn’t want anything.”
The sister said the constable had been trying to get access to a gun, but in her talks with the sergeant she told him the threat she was under.
“If he got his hands on that firearm, she (Golabie), the two children, even my other sister would have been in danger.” The sister said the attack was like deja vu to her, because her mother was attacked in the same way, more than ten years ago.
“My father slit my mother’s throat too,” the sister said. “They were at a beach and he was taking drugs and he attacked her and slit her throat. I got a call from family saying my father killed my mother.
"But she survived. She underwent eight hours of surgery, but she survived.”
Golabie’s sister believes the constable had been working up the nerve to attack his wife for months. She said for the past couple of months he had been picking her up, taking her for drives and dropping her back at her mother’s house.
“It was something pending. People were not picking it up but I believe every time he carried her out it was to take her somewhere and get rid of her. But he got his bravery yesterday (Thursday)”
Now, with the deed done, Golabie dead and the constable in police custody, their two children are without their parents.
The sister said she has the two children and they will remain in her care. She advised women in similar cases of abuse to take self-defence classes so they can fend off attacks.
“Take some kind of defence class that would help you fight back so you can save yourself. When these things happen there usually isn’t anyone around, so if you could get some help for yourself, so you could be a little stronger, it could save your life.”
Golabie was one of four siblings – three sisters and one brother. She was described as a caring, loving person who would do anything for her children. Her sister said that on Thursday morning Golabie and another sister sent her a video with the two of them laughing and singing along to Akon’s song, Beautiful.
“She was truly a beautiful person,” the sister said as the tears came. “She didn’t deserve to die like this.”
The number of women killed for the year now stands at 16.