Hannah’s siblings helping in murder investigation

A Valsayn resident looks at the Butu Road house where Hannah
Mathura’s skeletal remains were found on March 12. - File photo
A Valsayn resident looks at the Butu Road house where Hannah Mathura’s skeletal remains were found on March 12. - File photo

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See updated post here.

As police wait for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to decide whether charges should be filed against Hannah Mathura’s parents for her murder, her siblings have stepped up to assist investigators. This was confirmed by two lawyers representing the surviving seven Mathura siblings on Friday.

Hannah, 18, was shot in the head and buried in a shallow grave at her family’s Butu Road, Valsayn home in 2017. Her body was discovered by police on Tuesday after a male relative led officers to her grave. Her father fled the home hours before police arrived on Tuesday and went into hiding.

By the time the autopsy results emerged on Wednesday, police had launched a manhunt for her father. They received a tip on Wednesday night which led them to Tunapuna, where they found him in a small dirty apartment, dressed only in a pair of short pants. Hannah’s mother was also arrested at around the same time at the family’s home in Valsayn.

Time is now running out for the police to charge the couple as the longer they are held without charge, their lawyers can eventually file a writ of habeas corpus to have them released.

Speaking with Newsday on Friday, a senior officer said the couple was interviewed by homicide officers on Thursday evening and he believed they will soon be charged. He said while the police are hoping to lay murder charges against the duo, the decision is ultimately up to the DPP. “Those (interviews) are completed. The police are just tying up some other loose ends and then they’re looking to approach the DPP, probably over the weekend.”

The officer said the couple could jointly face multiple charges, apart from murder, based on the facts surrounding the case.

Responding to the possibility that Hannah’s parents could be set free before charges are laid if their lawyers file a writ of habeas corpus, Homicide Bureau head Rishi Singh said the police were not concerned about that at the moment. “If they decide to do that, we understand they are exercising the legal rights that are available to them and we will just have to abide by due process and will continue to work towards our investigative processes.” He said he believed the police were in a position to justify keeping them in custody if any such application is made. “Once we are called upon to justify their detention, we will. We are doing all we have to do.”

Hannah’s siblings unified

Attorneys Sajiv Boodhu and Sascha Kolasingh are representing the interests of Hannah’s seven siblings and spoke with the media outside the Arouca Police Station on Friday afternoon. The attorneys said the Mathura children asked them to thank the public for the outpouring of love and support they have received, thanks in part to the media coverage of the incident. However, they also asked for privacy as they navigate the traumatic experience. “They’ve expressed to us that they’ve received a lot of support on social media… Despite the outpouring of love and support, we would continue to ask the public to respect the privacy of the children in particular at this time. This is not an easy ordeal for them to be undergoing.”

Asked how they were dealing with the entire situation, Kolasingh said they remained “unified” and “supportive of each other.” “The children are dealing with the situation as it unfolds. They are learning a lot, quite a few traumatizing things on the media. They’re also receiving a lot of support. So they are taking it one day at a time and dealing with issues as they come up.” She added, “They seem to be in good spirits, they are very happy to co-operate and they’re very much willing to work with all of the investigators.”

Responding to questions on Hannah’s death, the lawyers said they were unable to speak on the issue as neither they nor the Mathura children have seen a copy of the autopsy results. “We haven’t seen the autopsy report. One hasn’t been provided to us. I don’t know whether the media has had their hands on it, but we are not in a position to confirm that is actually the findings of any examinations that were done on the remains.” “So at this stage, we don’t have any instructions on that issue because we don’t know that that is indeed true,” said Kolasingh. Boodhu said the Mathura children were also surprised to hear about the results of Hannah’s autopsy being reported. “They too are surprised that there is information circulating about an autopsy report whereas we have not seen one, neither have they.”

Boodhu said it was too early to say if the siblings intended to press charges for the alleged abuse done to them. “The investigation is very much in a preliminary state and we are not in a position at all to attempt to jeopardize the police’s investigation or the integrity thereof. So we say that in keeping with looking after the interest of the children, but we can’t say for sure whether there are any culpabilities to be derived at all.”

Asked if they were able to substantiate claims that the authorities failed to take action despite neighbors informing the police of suspected abuse, the lawyers said the children’s main goal right now is to assist the police with their investigations. “We are here today to assist the police first and foremost. I wouldn’t want to comment on that issue. “What I can say is that as our interaction with the family continues, we will be in a position to address the media on those issues as time goes by.” Boodhu said the Mathura children are focused on a swift investigation and a just outcome. “One thing we have to be cautious about and recognize is that this is an ongoing investigation. We wouldn’t want to trample upon the police the integrity of the police investigation. “As I said, the children are interested in a fair investigation and a just outcome and they remain committed to supporting the police in every way that they can.”


"Hannah’s siblings helping in murder investigation"

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