PORT OF SPAIN –– A five-year-old girl who was in the back seat of a car had to watch as a man shoot her mother dead before turning the weapon on himself on Saturday night.
Little Kensiya Ragoonanan ran out of the vehicle into the arms of a stranger, who was standing on the roadway.
Benedict Gabriel, of Pleasantville, told police he was standing at Princess Margaret Street, San Fernando, around 9 p.m. when he heard explosions.
Gabriel said he saw a little girl running towards him. She said her mother was dead.
San Fernando police responded to the report and found the child’s mother Jessica Brereton dead in the front passenger seat. A man was slumped in the driver’s seat of the silver BMW car with gunshot wounds to the head.
He was identified as Anil Lalmansingh, 41, of Mitchell Street, South Oropouche.
Brereton, 34, lived at Seaview Drive, Marabella.
Relatives said the couple, who worked together at Iere Express Couriers in San Fernando, had been in a relationship for almost three years.
But late last year, relatives said, Brereton, an administrative assistant, ended the relationship.
Her mother Veronica Noel said: “She left home around 8:30 p.m. to go to Fyzabad. She didn’t say why. I ask her about her daughter and she said the child was going with her. She and the man worked together and they were in a relationship. Just before Christmas she ended the relationship because things were not working out. I didn’t know the details. But the man went to Miami and came back and they were talking again.”
Brereton was also the mother of 11-year-old Hezekiah Brandon.
Following the shooting, Noel was informed that her daughter was in an abusive relationship with the man.
“She confided in a friend. She didn’t tell me. I heard that he locked her in a room at work and wanted to stab her. He would rough her up in the office and she couldn’t put up with it any more. I can’t understand why she didn’t tell me, because we had a good relationship. I heard that the man convinced my daughter to keep secrets from me because he knew I would go to the police,” she said.
Noel said Brereton was the second of her four children.
“I got a call from someone who knew the man and she told me my daughter was shot dead. I didn’t believe it until the police called. I went to the station but they didn’t hand over Kensiya. I had to send for my identification card and the police brought her home to us. I am now left to care for my grandchildren,” she said.
The police and church have offered counselling to the little girl.
At Lalmansingh’s home in South Oropouche relatives were shocked by the news that he had killed Brereton and himself. His older sister Kim Bhola said Lalmansingh loved Brereton dearly and wanted to marry her.
She said after her brother divorced six years ago, he found love in his co-worker and the two shared a good relationship. Lalmansingh, a courier, was the father of an 18-year-old girl. Bhola said Brereton lived with her brother, who never displayed violent behaviour.
“He was in Miami recently and was supposed to go again this month. I got the news from my mum in New York; someone called her last night . . . ,” she said.
Bhola said she sympathised with Brereton’s family.
“As a mother, my heart goes out to that family. I know they must be hurting just like us. It is so sad. I don’t know what went wrong. I don’t know why this happened,” she said.
Lalmansingh’s car was seized by investigators, as homicide detectives continued investigations.
The murder toll now stands at 84, according to an Express tally.