Posted By Staff On August 1, 2008 @ 5:10 am
By Zoisa Fraser
Two police ranks have been placed under close arrest following the mid- afternoon escape of a murder accused from a prison van on Wednesday as he and others were being taken back to the Camp Street prison after an appearance at the Providence Magistrate’s Court.
Despite several searches by members of the Guyana Police Force on Wednesday and yesterday, Trevor Major has not been apprehended and up to press time last evening no wanted bulletin had been issued for him.
In a press release issued at minutes to six yesterday afternoon police said that the circumstances surrounding the 20-year-old’s escape on Wednesday are being investigated.
According to the release Major who hails from Mc Kenzie, Linden and Mocha Arcadia, East Bank Demerara was among five other remanded prisoners who were being transported in a police prison van from the Providence Police Station back to the Georgetown Prison “when it is alleged that he managed to pick the handcuffs and open the prison van door and escape in the vicinity of Croal Street”.
As the investigations continue two police ranks are under close arrest, the release said.
Though the escape reportedly occurred around 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon, yesterday’s release was the first from the police. Observers have said that residents on the East Bank should have been immediately alerted by the police of the escape via radio and television.
When contacted yesterday Police Public Relations Officer, Ivelaw Whittaker could not provide any information to this newspaper and Whittaker said when he was asked about the likelihood of a press release being dispatched later said that he did not have any information at that point in time. This was yesterday morning. This newspaper then attempted to get some more information about two hours after noon but was told again by Whittaker that no information was available.
Major was charged last September with the murder of security guard Melvin Sancho whose decomposing body was found on a bed in his Supply, East Bank Demerara home.
There were wounds to Sancho’s head and a bloody piece of wood was lying nearby. Major was arrested several days after the gruesome discovery which was made when residents living nearby were alerted to a strong stench. He was placed before the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court and the matter was then transferred to the Providence Court. At the time of his escape, the preliminary inquiry was still being conducted.
This newspaper was reliably informed that the prisoner made his dash for freedom in the vicinity of the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court after freeing himself of the handcuffs he was wearing. It is not clear if the ranks saw when he jumped out.
The prison vans are usually locked with huge padlocks from the outside so it is unclear how Major managed to get out of the moving vehicle. Even if the padlock was not locked but still hooked on the door it would still have been difficult for him to escape.
Deputy prison head Poshanand Tahal told this newspaper that the incident is out of the hands of the prison department since it was the police who were escorting the prisoners at the time of the escape.
“This has nothing to do with us. It is the police who was escorting the prisoners”, he said.
Tahal added that the information he has is that the prisoners left the court and somewhere along the route, Major escaped. He did not say where or when the escape may have occurred.
He could not provide this newspaper with any information on what may have transpired on Wednesday afternoon but said that “I am getting more information from reading the newspapers than I am getting from the police or my people”.
Further he said that on Wednesday the police took some statements and left. This newspaper was later told that the police visited the prison and took statements from the prisoners who were travelling with Major at the time of the incident.
This newspaper was told that the van was not being escorted by a police vehicle as is customary. It is unclear if others in the van also attempted to escape.
Crime Chief Seelall Persaud said yesterday that the two ranks who were escorting the prisoners have been placed under close arrest.
Asked where the ranks were during the journey, he said that the two were sitting at the front of the vehicle. The prisoners would have been secured in the enclosed back of the vehicle.
According to him, to facilitate his escape, the accused picked the lock on his handcuffs and the police have already taken statements from the prisoners to ascertain how he did that.
This escape comes on the heels of another which occurred a month ago during which multiple murder accused Jermaine `Skinny’ Charles managed to escape unnoticed from the Sparendaam Police Station lock-ups.
According to reports he managed to squeeze under loose floor boards in his cell shortly after a court appearance and ranks only realized that he was missing several hours later when they were preparing to take the prisoners back to the Camp Street prison.
Several ranks have since been transferred from that station and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) now has to decide if charges will be laid again any of the officers.
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