Man pleads guilty to fatally chopping Bush Lot couple during burglary

A 24-year-old man, Nazamadeen Raffick on Tuesday pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge over the killing of an elderly Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice, (WCB) businessman, and his wife.

The couple was awakened from their sleep and chopped to death during a burglary at their home. Raffick was brought before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the High Court in Berbice where he was indicted for the capital offence of murder.

He, however, opted to plead guilty to the lesser count. He admitted that between January 8 and 9, 2016, he unlawfully killed Arthur Rajkumar, 81, and Diane Chamanlall, 44, at Lot 93 A Middle Walk Dam, Bush Lot, WCB during the course or furtherance of a burglary.

With a jury already empaneled to hear Raffick’s trial given his earlier not guilty plea to the murder charge, Justice Kissoon stopped the case and directed the jury to return a guilty verdict for the offence of manslaughter.

Sentencing for Raffick has been deferred to November 24 at 09:00 hours.

A police statement said Rajkumar called ‘Uncle Arthur’ and Chamanlall were found with multiple chop and stab wounds about their bodies. They were taken to the Fort Wellington Hospital where Rajkumar was pronounced dead on arrival while Chamanlall succumbed while receiving treatment.

Reports state that Police ranks were summoned to the couple’s home at around 03:00 hours on January 9, 2016, when they saw three men jumping over a fence on the premises. The ranks gave chase after the men but were unable to apprehend them.

With the help of public-spirited citizens, Police received further information which led to the arrest of the men. It was reported that the men were well known to the couple who operated an ice cream parlour, a pool shop, and a stationery store at their residence.

Rajkumar was also a well-known mechanic in the WCB area. State Counsel Abigail Gibbs told the court that Raffick, in a caution statement, admitted that he and his accomplices smoked marijuana and “got a nice feeling” before they went to rob the couple.

Last year, Rooplall Abrahim and Madanpaul Gocoul who were also charged with the couple’s brutal murder pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter. Abrahim was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years while Gocoul was sentenced to 24 years in prison.