UPDATE BV FIRE: Arson suspected in apparent murder-suicide

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Investigations are still ongoing into the deadly blaze early Sunday morning at Beterverwagting, East Coast of Demerara, in which three members of the same family perished.

The deceased were identified as Leonard Pollard, 33; his one-year-old daughter, Nakasia Pollard and the child’s mother, Latoya Telford, 26, with whom the man allegedly shared a rocky relationship. It is suspected that the blaze was an act of arson in an apparent murder-suicide. Reports suggest that the man threw a flammable substance on his common-law wife and daughter, and set them alight before he reportedly hung himself.

The two-storey house was completely gutted, destroying everything inside. Police quickly cordoned off the area as word spread of the incident, which sent shockwaves throughout the village.

It was around 06:00hrs that undertakers retrieved and transported the burnt remains of the three persons who were confirmed to have been killed. Telford’s mother, who was present at the scene, was restrained by relatives as her daughter’s body was taken out. The woman confirmed that her daughter and Pollard were having problems over the last several months.

According to information gathered, after several arguments, the woman had moved out of the Railway Embankment home, which she shared with her common-law husband, taking their three children along with her. Telford was said to have moved out in late 2016. Leonard’s brother, Leon Pollard, resided in the bottom flat of the BV home, while the two surviving children were said to be staying at Telford’s mother.

According to a Guyana Times report, Telford would often visit Pollard, but the two always ended up arguing. During such a visit on Saturday, the now deceased woman had only her youngest child, Nakasia, with her. It was alleged that Telford was involved in another relationship, which was the source of much of the conflict.

This was the account of Leon Pollard, Leonard’s brother, who told reporters that he and other family members had often warned his sibling to discontinue the relationship, but he never heeded their advice. Leon indicated that his brother, over the past few days, had shown him several text messages that Telford supposedly exchanged with the other man. Leon, who was at work at the time of the blaze, explained that Sunday morning’s fire has taken all but the clothes on his back.

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