Detainee died from haemorrhage
- relatives demand investigation
Kaieteur News
July 8, 2004

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A postmortem examination on the body of Kellowan Etwaroo, who died on Monday whilst in police custody, revealed that the detained man died from severe haemorrhage.

The autopsy report, which was conducted yesterday, confirmed that Etwaroo died as a result of massive head injuries. The injuries are consistent with those obtained by the banging of the head on a blunt object or a blunt object against the head.

He was also said to have suffered cirrhosis of the liver caused by excessive alcohol intake. Relatives say that according to the pathologist, Etwaroo had five bumps on the head that could have been as a result of a gun butt or his banging of his head on the wall. However, there was no visible damage to the skull nor was there any sign of a seizure.

The dead man’s eldest sister, Bhagwattie said that she had nothing to gain from denying that her brother was an alcoholic but she cannot see him banging his own head against the wall.

She added that the pathologist was of the opinion that when an alcoholic does not get access to alcohol he can become schizophrenic.

This, she said, can account for the behaviour of her brother that was described by the police as ‘mad’.

The woman contended that after the postmortem report was completed, it was only then that the police offered an explanation for her brother’s death.

They reportedly told the family that another inmate in another cell had confirmed that Etwaroo was banging his head on the concrete wall.

“But I want to know how dem didn’t know all de time wha happen to he. Now dem seying dat he bang he head to de wall. First deh sey how he de mad and he run off and all kind thing now when dem hear de report dem mek up a story,” Bhagwattie told Kaieteur News yesterday.

She said that she was baffled about the comment made by the inmate that he heard Etwaroo banging his head to the wall since the cells are partitioned by concrete walls right up and are supposed to be sound proof.

She added that the inspector said that when her brother was ‘running off’ they could not take him for a medical since they would have had to get permission from the magistrate after his court appearance.

“He sey dat if de man mad only de magistrate could decide fuh send he to de mad house.”

According to her, officials at the station should have being able to determine who was on duty and who was in charge of the detainee at the time of his death. “We need a full investigation into this because the post mortem has proven that something is wrong,” the woman said.

Thirty-eight-year-old Etwaroo was found dead in his cell at around 6:00 hrs on Monday morning while in custody at the La Grange Police Station on allegations that he stole two gold rings.

Etwaroo, of Lot 5 Independence Street, La Grange, West Bank Demerara was discovered dead when his wife went to the station to take some clothing for him to prepare for a court appearance.

The man’s sister told Kaieteur News that the family was informed by the police that they were preparing to take Etwaroo to the Leonora Magistrate’s Court to answer the charge. However, relatives contend that the man was already dead when a check at the court revealed that he was never charged and there was no matter there for him. His wife Angela asserted that she was rudely told that her husband was dead; after which she was led to the back of the lockups to the last cell. There she saw the lifeless body of Etwaroo lying half naked with filth splattered all over the cell.

“My husband was a strong man. He had no sickness or nothing and he never trouble with mental problems and den dem telling we dat dem ain’t even know when he dead,” Angela said.

“De inspector sey he bin hallowering whole night and dem ain’t really know when he dead.”

The man, who was a grass-cutter, fathered a 10-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter. He leaves to mourn his wife, children, two brothers and two sisters.