Accused of killing her children by poisoning


HOFOSAWA Awena Rutherford is on trial in the Georgetown High Court before Justice Navindra Singh and a 12-member jury to answer charges that she allegedly killed her children by poisoning on March 27, 2014 at her home at Branch Road, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara.

She pleaded not guilty to the charge of two counts of manslaughter and is being represented by defence counsel Adrian Thompson.

Meanwhile, the state is led by prosecutor Tiffini Lyken in association with Shawnette Austin and Abigail Gibbs.

In Lyken’s opening statement following the empanelling on Monday, she told the court that one-year-old Jabari Cadogan and four-year-old Odasia Cadogan died from pesticide poisoning.

She added that the cause of death was revealed during an autopsy.

On Tuesday when the trial continued, several witnesses testified, including Superintendent Philip Azore, who is Head of the Guyana Police Force Forensic Laboratory. He testified that he had examined fleshy tissue samples which were taken from the bodies of the children and he was able to determine that ‘rat poison’ was present.

He was able to form that opinion, since he recalled upon examination the pungent odour among other things.

Detective Sergeant Lawrence Thomas took the stand and told the court that in 2014, he was stationed at the Mahaicony Police Station as the Subordinate Officer-in-charge of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and was the lead investigator in the murder of Jabari and Odasia Cadogan.

He recalled that on the day in question, he visited the scene in company of other ranks and observed what appeared to be vomit in a chair, a creamy, whitish substance in a piece of paper and a drinking glass in the house occupied by the accused.

Thomas said he spoke to several persons and he was told ‘something’ and a blackberry curve cell phone which belonged to the accused was handed to him; the scene was photographed and the drinking glass was dusted for fingerprints.

On that same day he visited the Beterverwagting Police Station where the accused was in custody and he put the allegation of murder to her, after which she was cautioned and told of her rights.

The police witness said he took the caution statement in the presence of another rank and took the accused to the Plaisance market where she allegedly bought the ‘rat’ poison. After which he took her back to Beterverwagting Police Station where she was placed in custody.

Lance Corporal Sarwan Kumar testified that during the month of March, 2014, he was stationed at the Mahaicony Police Station Traffic Department and he was on mobile patrol duties when he received certain information.

As such, he went to the Mahaicony Hospital and contacted the accused who was a patient and he interviewed her.

She said, “Offica meh went fuh get wuk but ne nah get thru, me get stress and I went Plaisance Market and purchased tablets and when I reach home I gave it to my children and then I drink it.”

Kumar added that he then spoke to a doctor on duty and he told him ‘something,’ after which he went to the Accident and Emergency section and checked the bodies of Jabari and Odasia Cadogan for marks, but none were found.

The police witness told the court he then returned to the Mahaicony Police Station where he reported the matter to Sergeant Thomas and made an entry in the station diary, pertaining to what the accused had told him.

The matter continues in the Georgetown High Court before Justice Navindra Singh today, when more witnesses are expected to take the stand.