Gov’t pathologist testifies in Agricola murder trial
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Accused: Sylvester Vanderhyden
Accused: Sylvester Vanderhyden

GOVERNMENT Pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh, has given testimony about a post-mortem examination he performed on the body of Melissa Payne, who was fatally shot during an armed robbery at Agricola Public Road, East Bank Demerara, in 2008.

Sylvester Vanderhyden of Block ‘A’ Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo, who is currently on trial before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow and a 12-member jury at the Demerara High Court, recently pleaded not guilty to the capital offence of murder.

It is alleged that, on November 5, 2008, at Agricola, East Bank Demerara, he murdered Payne during the course or furtherance of a robbery.

He is being represented by attorney-at-law George Thomas, while prosecutor Lisa Cave is on record for the State.

During Monday’s hearing, Dr. Singh gave the cause of death as perforation of the lungs and artery due to a gunshot wound. The post-mortem report was then marked, tendered and admitted as evidence in the trial after Dr. Singh was deemed an expert in pathology.

Dr. Singh told the court that, upon examination of the body, he observed a circular wound on the right side armpit, and, during dissection, he observed that a bullet had entered the chest cavity and pierced the artery which caused the lungs to collapse. The bullet also fractured the sixth rib before becoming lodged in the left shoulder.

Dr. Singh testified that he extracted the bullet and lodged same with the police.

The trial will continue today.

According to reports, on the day in question, at about 08:30 hrs, Payne, along with her reputed husband, Devon Thomas, were in a canter truck heading to Georgetown to conduct business.

As the couple approached Agricola, the truck encountered mechanical problems. Fraser came out and tried to fix the truck, while Payne stood and watched him.

A few moments later, one of two bandits came up to them with a gun and demanded their money.  The armed man snatched Fraser’s gold chain and attempted to pull away Payne’s handbag.

Payne resisted and was fatally shot in her chest. The men then escaped with some $110,000 in cash that was in the woman’s bag, along with her jewellery.

In November 2017, Jermaine Savory, formerly of Second Street, Agricola, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a High Court judge after he was found guilty of killing Payne.

Savory had confessed to investigators that he had participated in the robbery but was not the trigger man. In 2016, after being on the run from the police, Vanderhyden was finally arrested and charged for the offence.

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