Wife freed, husband convicted on murder charge

It was a bitter sweet outcome for Putitia Mohammed yesterday after she was freed of a murder charge, but she left behind her husband who was convicted and taken back to prison to await sentencing.

Putita, 39, blew a kiss to her husband Nizam Mohammed, 45, as he was being led in handcuffs from the San Fernando High Court to the prison van last evening. Putitia, her husband, both double vendors, and former worker Daniel Sammy, were all on trial before Justice Maria Wilson charged with the 2008 murder of Stephen Joshua, also called Jumbo, who was set on fire by her husband.

Yesterday, Putitia and Sammy, 42, were freed after a jury in the Third Criminal Court found them not guilty. Putitia’s husband was found not guilty of murder, but guilty on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

He was remanded into custody and the matter was adjourned to April 18. Mohammed admitted to pouring gas on Joshua and setting him on fire, but he claimed he was acting in self-defence. He told the police he was in fear of Joshua who was always harassing him.

Putitia and Sammy were also charged because a witness claimed Putitia brought the container of gas and Sammy gave him the lighter. The incident took place on May 3, 2008, at a house at Cipero Road, Friendship Village, where the couple lived in a downstairs apartment. Sammy, who was hired to build their cupboards, was staying with them. Speaking to reporters, Putitia said she was happy but also sad.

“It very hurtful. I know that that day my husband did not look for problems. He was trying to calm the man. I believe he will be back out very soon.”

Putitia, who was surrounded by her family, also criticised the justice system.

“It was hurtful to me knowing that the justice system was so slow and then the police officers don’t investigate matters properly before they charge an individual.”

She was excited to be reunited with her children, 14, 15 and 16 years old and intends to expand her food business.

Also complaining about the slow pace of the justice system, Sammy said, “If the police did proper investigations we would not have spent no 10 years in jail. Sammy said he and Putitia played no part in the incident and he had even tried to douse the flames of Joshua.

Sammy, who has a 19-year-old son in the United States Navy, said he intends to take up gardening. The couple was represented by attorney Israel Khan SC, Sammy was represented by attorney Ramesh Deena while state attorneys Trevor Jones and Anslem Leander prosecuted the case.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Sascha Wilson)

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