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'In less than three minutes it was all gone' 

By Shawnel Cudjoe

In less than three minutes, the life which Nazeema Persaud had struggled to build over the past 13 years was smashed when armed bandits shot her husband dead in the second robbery attack on the family within a year.

Grieving: Nazeema Persaud and her three children, Nicholas, Nicole and Nikki.

A sombre atmosphere prevailed over the Persauds 259 Non Pariel, East Coast Demerara home yesterday when this newspaper visited as neighbours and friends gathered to lend support and encouragement to the widow.

Less than 24 hours after the incident, a grief stricken Nazeema Persaud, 28, has already considered her options and decided that the only way to move forward would be to move out of the home she shared with her husband since January, 2001.

It would not erase the pain, but it would make the days more bearable. &#x201CI am moving to Enmore, I can't stay here. They ruined my life within three minutes. My husband is dead and so is the business, she told this newspaper.

Unsolved murder

On Saturday night, three armed bandits staged an attack on the family and robbed them of money  not a significant sum, according to Persaud- and three rings and a wrist watch, and left 34-year-old Chandrapaul Persaud, called Ravin or Kero man dead.

Recalling the events that led up to the incident, Persaud said her husband came home around 16:50 h and left the gate open when he drove the car into the yard. She said she was on the veranda and he handed her a box of food and some DVDs which he had borrowed and called his nine year old son, Nicholas, to help him pack up  the canter.

The couple has been operating the grocery and wholesale beverage business for the past 11 years. To bring in more income, her husband also sold kerosene house to house in many east coast villages, on a daily basis.

According to Nazeema, she got up from the veranda and went into the kitchen to put down the food. Her daughters, Nikki 12 and Nicole 3, followed her.

Spiritual healing? tragedy?

As soon as I stepped into the kitchen, I heard my husband shouting for thief, the woman said.

Ballistics Expert Sergeant Eon Jackson had testified that the bullet which was removed from the deceased during the post mortem examination and handed over to him was discharged from the AK-47 assault rifle which was found with Collier

Mrs. Persaud said that the sound of her husband's voice evoked memories of a previous attack, and left her shaking inside. It was the same voice which had called out in December of last year, when bandits had attacked them. On that occasion, her husband fought back and had been shot in the arm.

The woman said that as she turned to leave the kitchen, she came face to face with two heavily armed, masked bandits who immediately demanded money and jewellery. She said that the men wore net masks, their heads were tied and they wore dark coloured casual clothing.

According to Persaud, she instantly began begging the gunmen to spare the life of her children and they promised not to hurt them. The woman said one of the bandits followed her into the bedroom while the other two remained with her children.

All the money in her possession was handed over but the man was not satisfied and demanded jewellery. Her three wedding rings and a wrist watch which were lying on the bedroom ledge were then handed over.

According to Nazeema, during this time, she heard bottles being broken outside and instantly knew that her husband was battling his attackers. &#x201C Shoot de damn man one of the gunmen shouted. Nazeema said she placed her hand in a prayer like gesture and begged the gunman in her bedroom with his back to her, to spare the life of the man she had spent the last thirteen years of her life with.

She said the man walked out of the room without as much as a backward glance and about four gunshots rang out.

She said the three men then jumped into her husband brand new car AT 192 PJJ 1892 and began revving it to drive out of the yard. Nazeema said she walked over to the MMC security buzzer by her front door, which was installed when the bandits attacked last December, and pressed it.

All this time, she had not seen her husband and she ran in front of the car and began asking the gunmen not to take him away. &#x201CI was not seeing him and I thought they had him in the car, she told this newspaper.

The car finally drove off and Nazeema saw her husband lying on the road in a pool of blood. &#x201CI saw my husband on the ground and he was not breathing, I lay down on him and I was screaming for help.

Neighbours were scared to come to her rescue at once, she said.

Police said that the car was recovered in Paradise, also on the East Coast around 21:00h on Saturday night.

The woman believes her husband was killed because he fought back. He was a guy who represented his family and he wanted to come in and see what was happening to us, she said.

Nazeema described her husband as brave, quiet and hardworking. &#x201CEvery year, he worked to achieve something new in life, and within three minutes everything was destroyed for me.”

She said the incident seemed like a nightmare but the solemn family faces around her and especially the pain in her heart, remind her of the reality of the situation.

Monday, October 02, 2006