Trinidad Express – Over 24 years of domestic abuse suffered by a Tarodale family culminated in the killing of one of their youngest children, a one-year-old girl, during a bloody cutlass attack on Sunday night by a rejected lover.
Little Sariah Williams, who celebrated her first birthday in June, was chopped on the head and forehead as she sat in the lap of her grandmother.
Sariah’s grandmother, Michelle Williams, and mother Nikita Williams used their bodies as human shields over the infant as the man repeated swung the cutlass at them in the gallery of their home at Sion Drive, Phase One.
As she tried to fend off the cutlass, Michelle, 50, was chopped on her right wrist and two fingers were chopped and fractured on her left hand.
The man retreated only after relatives and neighbours went after him upon hearing the screams of the family. He hid in a room until police arrived at the scene.
Michelle Williams being comforted by one of her granddaughters
Police detained a 58-year-old painter, a Guyanese national, in connection with the killing.
The grandmother said the man had threatened to kill her, adding she and other members of her family had endured violent confrontations and abuse from him on numerous occasions.
Michelle said she believed the attack on Sunday night was premeditated because she had recently turned down his marriage proposal and wanted him to leave her home.
After receiving threats in 89 voice notes on Friday and Saturday and a photo of a cutlass from the man, she confided in a close friend that she was going to the police yesterday morning to start the process for a restraining order against him.
Michelle told the media, “We were together for 24 years and I took the abuse. He slapped me, kicked me with boots, knocked me out, threw pitch-oil on me, threw thinners on my daughter, tried to light me afire and stab my son in his face.
“I had a lot of fear. Since last week he said he was going to kill me, and kill all of the children to make an example. And so, he really did it. He killed my grandchild. She now started to walk and talk. She was a nice child.”
‘Blood was just flowing’
On Sunday, the grandmother, a security guard, went to her workplace while Nikita used her (Michelle’s) kitchen to cook food for a curry-que that day to raise funds to purchase schoolbooks, devices and school materials.
Nikita is a single mother of eight, with Sariah, her last child.
When she returned home from work, Michelle was washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen when the suspect began to quarrel with her.
“When I started to wash the dishes, he started to cuss. ‘You only for your children, everything is your children. Why are you letting them make money off of you and I am not getting anything’, he told me.
“I told him he did not have to get on like that,” said the grandmother.
She finished the dishes and sat in the gallery with Sariah in her lap, while Nikita sat on another chair.
“He started to quarrel with Niki. She told him to go inside and lie down. He walked inside then he fly out with a blade.
“As he came to the gallery he started to chop. The baby got one on her head. Blood started to flow. She was blacking out.
“Niki grabbed the child and lie down on the ground. He kept coming. I had to go over them and brace. That is how I got my two hands chopped. Niki and I ran downstairs with the child. The child could not even cry, blood was just flowing from her head,” said the grandmother.
As the suspect locked himself into a room, a neighbour took the grandmother, mother and child to the San Fernando General Hospital.
The child was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at the hospital.
Bitten and stabbed
Tarodale residents had meanwhile flagged down patrolling police officers who called for back-up as angry relatives and neighbours mobbed the house where the suspect hid in a room.
“The police came and they called for backup. The officers went upstairs in the house and brought him out.
“While bringing him out my children and neighbours attacked him with their hands. The police had to use pepper spray on my son and some other people. The people would have killed him. They were fed up of him,” said Michelle.
Police seized a cutlass from the house and the suspect was taken at the Ste Madeleine Police Station.
As Michelle spoke of the years of abuse, she pointed to a line of stitches on her right arm where she said he bit her, and then another injury on her left shoulder where she said he had stabbed her.
The grandmother said she had taken out a restraining order against him more than ten years ago, then forgave him and he returned to the house.
She said he had pending matters in court for criminal offences of a violent nature.
‘These men are demons’
The grandmother appealed to women who were victims of abuse to sever ties with their abuser and leave the relationship.
“I am begging women, do not wait until it is death. As a man hit and cuss you, get out of it. These men are demons. They do not have God in them.
“I told him I had no feelings for him. He told me he had nowhere to go. But I told him I will give him time to leave and offered to give him a fridge and stove. When he saw I was really serious then he said he will kill. He knew what he was doing, he always wanted to do that,” she said.
She blamed herself for her granddaughter’s killing.
“I blame myself. I should have put a stop to this and stopped forgiving and forgiving. If I had put a stop to it my grandchild would have been alive. She was very loving. She loved to eat. Whole night she would be running around. She loved cartoons. She was full of life,” she said.
“I am telling women, as a man start to cuss you get out of the relationship. They will help you wash and cook, but they are killers. As a man abuse you, go to the police. Get counselling, talk the truth. Tell them everything. Do not be like me and be a coward.”
Detectives of Homicide Region III are continuing investigations.