Taxi driver charged, remanded

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Matthew Munroe

–for young schoolteacher’s murder

AT approximately 14:30hrs on Wednesday afternoon, 47-year-old taxi driver Matthew Munroe appeared at the Georgetown Magistrate Court, shackled and handcuffed, to be charged for the murder of schoolteacher, Kescia Branche.

DEAD: Kescia Branche

Munroe, dressed in a white shirt and dark blue jeans, brought much media and public attention as he made his way from the unmarked police van to the Court lockup.
Around 14:45hrs, the accused made his way into the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan to await his hearing.

The father of one, who appeared unperturbed, sat quietly in the court dock cleaning his spectacles and occasionally conferring with his attorney, George Thomas.
The Chief Magistrate came out and read the particulars of the charge to Munro. It is alleged that he, on November 7, 2017 at Georgetown, murdered Branche.

His attorney told the court that his client resides at Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara, and that besides being a taxi driver, is also a part-time public relations consultant.

According to the lawyer, on the night of Branche’s alleged attack/murder his client was out of the country, and has phone records to prove these claims.
Thomas further pointed out that his client was pressured and beaten by the police to confess to the murder.
Police Prosecutor, Inspector David Mansfield told the court that there are several issues that need to be clarified by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and on that note he requested that the matter be adjourned for a month.

The Chief Magistrate agreed and remanded Munroe until January 9, 2018.
Branche, a mother of one, who resided in Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, was last seen on November 4, when she left for a night out with her friends.
However, her unconscious body was found in the vicinity of Princes Street and Louisa Row the following day. Her left leg was broken and there was evidence that she’d sustained multiple head injuries.

The Richard Ishmael Secondary School teacher died at the Georgetown Public Hospital two days after being found battered in the City.
A post-mortem indicated that she died as a result of brain haemorrhage.
During police investigations, three suspects who were being questioned regarding the death of Branche, were released. The father of Branche’s three-year-old son was released on November 14 and placed on station bail, along with two police constables.
The two policemen were placed under open arrest and will be working out of the Tactical Services Unit (TSU).

At the time of the trio’s release, police were seeking to contact a taxi driver whose cell phone number appeared repeatedly on Branche’s mobile device.
The taxi driver’s car was impounded at the Brickdam Police Station, and he had reportedly left the country after Branche was found with a broken leg and in an unconscious state on November 5.

Investigators are of the opinion that the driver may have been the last person to see the teacher alive.

When arrested, the taxi driver claimed that his car was involved in an accident after he drove into a pothole, but according to a police report, the damages on to car are consistent with the injuries Branche received.