FIFTEEN years and a day after they first tried to poison him with a meal of stewed goat and rice and then bludgeoned him to death, Anil Jadoo’s common-law wife, her mother and his best friend were sentenced to a total of three years and six months’ hard labour.
They will each spend one year and two months behind bars.
Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas on Thursday sentenced Geewan Pardassie, and Kareen Ramlal and her mother, Ramdaye. All three received discounts for their guilty plea and the 14 years and ten months they spent in custody awaiting their trial.
In January, three pleaded guilty to killing Jadoo on May 3, 2006. Pardassie admitted to inflicting the blow which killed Jadoo, his best friend, for $800, but the judge said they were all culpable for Jadoo’s death since their intent was the same: to kill him.
The judge recognised the attempts by the two Ramlal women to “evade responsibility” for the killing by putting the blame on Pardassie, and playing down their individual roles in the murder. However, he said they were “entangled” by the roles they each played and all culpable, regardless.
He was also wary of Kareen’s claims of Jadoo’s drunken threats against her in the past, saying the plot to kill was not a “slow burn which broke the camel’s back or a drunken loss of control.
“The court must be mindful not to trivialise violence towards women, or in a domestic setting,” he said as he made it clear he did not condone domestic violence.
However, he said taking a life because of domestic disharmony and Jadoo’s drunken threats towards his wife “remained inexcusable.”
“There was clearly defined and articulated plan to ‘get rid of' a 30-year-old man…Each played a different, but integral, part,” St Clair-Douglas said.
He also said they knew they would have to use violence if Jadoo did not eat the poisoned meal.
It was the prosecution’s case that the three planned to kill Jadoo by lacing a meal of stewed goat and rice with the insecticide malathion, or Lanate. When that failed to kill him, because he didn’t finish the meal, prepared by his mother-in-law, because it was not “tasting good,” Pardassie hit him three times on the head with a piece of wood.
He then told the women.
Kareen smiled while her mother said, “Good.”
Ramlal discussed killing Jadoo, the father of her then six-year-old daughter, with Pardassie numerous times because he was abusive to her.
Although he “kept ducking them,” it was agreed between the three that if Jadoo did not eat the poisoned meal, then Pardassie would have to kill him.
On May 2, Kareen told Paradasie, with whom she was also intimate, she wanted her husband dead that night.
She said her mother would prepare the pot of goat and would put in the Lanate provided by Pardassie, while she was cooking. Two separate pots were prepared. It was agreed that if Jadoo did not eat it, then Pardassie would have to kill him.
After returning from the cinema, the friends began drinking. Jadoo began eating the meal prepared for him but told Pardassie he did not like how the food tasted and went to bed.
The judge said there were no signs of defensive wounds on Jadoo’s body.
“There was no warning of the assault. He was fast asleep when he was struck.”
Jadoo’s body was found by a relative. He died from blunt force trauma to the skull and brain, autopsy reports said.
When arrested, Pardassie took the police to Jadoo’s home and showed them the piece of wood and the poisoned food.
The meal was taken to the Forensic Science Centre and tested positive for malathion.
There were also traces of the poison in Jadoo’s blood.
Kareen told police Jadoo threatened her and slapped her, and, fed up with the problems in the relationship, she decided to poison him.
She claimed Pardassie had asked for $800, while her mother, now also 67, said it was Pardassie who volunteered to kill Jadoo after her daughter complained and said she wanted to get rid of him.
Prison reports classified each of them as medium- to low-risk prisoners, although it was suggested that their familial interactions would pose the biggest challenge in their attitude to criminal behaviour.
Pardassie, now 67, is an exemplary prisoner who worked as an orderly and was said to be calm and helpful. He also continued to hone his skills as a barber. Kareen, now 41, engaged in animal husbandry and was part of the women’s agricultural gang in prison, preparing meals for inmates. She also had five infractions for having a prohibited item in her cell, which the judge said was likely to be a cell phone, since her mother said she tried to keep in contact with her family.
Their sentences began to run from Thursday and it is expected that separate counts of conspiracy to murder which had been laid against them will be discontinued before their term is up.
Pardassie was represented by attorneys Selwyn Mohammed and Ravi Rajah. Kareen was represented by Ulric Skerritt and Michelle Gonzales and Ramdaye by attorneys Colin Selvon and public defender Delicia Helwig-Robertson.
The State was represented by prosecutors Indira Chinebas and Ambay Ramkellawan.