Angela Best, the mother of the late Corey Antonio Best, told the coroner’s inquest today that she did not hear, neither did she see, “any commotion” while she was at the Oistins Police Station where her son died three years ago.
Under questioning by Coroner Manila Renee at the Cane Garden, St Thomas court Best revealed that she could hear her son in the cell from the waiting area where she was sitting.
“I could stand and hear my son’s voice from where I was. I could not understand what he was saying . . . but I heard his voice, he was shouting,” Best said.
Asked by the magistrate if her son was screaming, the mother said: “No . . . it sounded like shouting at the top of your voice.”
Best also revealed that she does not know how long her son was shouting as the door to the cells through which she was listening was subsequently closed.
The body of the 33-year-old former Hopefield, Charnocks, Christ Church resident was found hanging on April 13, 2017. According to evidence given by police in November last year, Corey had been detained and interviewed about a burglary, which had occurred at his mother’s home on February 27. It was reported by Corey’s cousin David Kola, who was visiting from Canada, that a metal cash tin had been stolen after someone had broken in.
Today, Best told the inquest that Station Sergeant Leslie Arthur was the officer who took her son to the cells.
However, she said the officer “did not look different” to her on his return. “Because I was not looking for anything like that. I did not notice any scratches, any bruises, no difference in his appearance.”
“While you were at the station, from where you were sitting, did you see any commotion, anything amiss?” the coroner asked the grieving mother.
“No ma’am,” Best responded adding that when she was escorted to officer Arthur’s office she had to go a short distance towards the cells before making a turn.
“I cannot remember seeing anyone in the area going towards Arthur’s office . . . . I did not notice any commotion,” the mother explained saying when she got to the office the officer began taking items out from a cash tin.
“While he did that he was talking with me. He asked me if my son was mad? I asked him why did he ask me that and he told me that my son had cuffed him and I asked him if he cuffed him back and he said ‘yes’ that nobody hits his mother’s child,” Best recalled. She also revealed that officer Arthur offered her a ride home sometime later and she accepted.
“At the time I did not know why he offered me the ride . . . [but later] I said to myself he wanted to get me from the police station as fast as possible.”
Her attorney Tristan Elcock then asked why she had formed that opinion.
“After I heard that my son had hanged himself,” was her reply.
She then recalled her second trip to the police station to identify Corey’s body.
“When I entered the cell I started to cry . . . and I placed my face on my son’s face and took my hand and rubbed it behind his head and neck searching,” Best said as she cried. “I asked them how did my son get up by the window at the top of the wall and Inspector [Carolyn] Blackman-Alleyne said that my son climbed up on a chair and hanged himself,” she revealed saying that she was shocked by that disclosure.
In earlier testimony today the mother revealed that she arrived at the Oistins Police Station around 1:09 p.m. and found Corey sitting on a bench and “he looked alright and in good condition to me”.
“He whispered to me not to believe what Arthur was saying that he would talk to me when he come out,” said Best who disclosed that that was the only communication she had with Corey that day.
After taking evidence from three other witnesses Coroner Renee adjourned the inquest until March 7.