Henry boys’ murders stemmed from destroyed ganja farm

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Isaiah Henry, 16, and his 19-year-old cousin, Joel Henry were murdered because they were believed to have destroyed a ganja farm located in the West Berbice backlands.

This is according to the hour-long confession given by one of the three suspects who will today be arraigned for the brutal killings.

On September 6, 2020 the badly mutilated bodies of Isaiah and Joel were found in the backlands of Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice – almost two days after they had left their Number Three Village, WCB home to pick coconuts.

On Thursday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) advised investigators to charge 19-year-old Akash Singh, called “Monkey,” of Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo (EBE); his stepbrother, 33-year-old Anil Sancharra, called “Dan pole” and “Rasta,” of D’ Edward Village, WCB; and 34-year-old Vinod Gopaul, called “Magga,” of Yakusari, Black Bush Polder, Corentyne, Berbice.

Singh was arrested on Sunday last after Police received information.

The other suspects were then taken into custody the following day.

In fact, Gopaul attempted to escape but was eventually apprehended.

Head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Wendell Blanhum, told reporters on Thursday evening that Gopaul and Sancharra have remained silent.

However, Singh has since confessed.

The Crime Chief had facilitated a group of reporters to view Singh’s confession video on Thursday evening.

In the confession, Singh told the police that he had accompanied Gopaul and Sancharra to the West Coast Berbice backlands sometime in August 2020 to cultivate cannabis.

He said the duo had obtained the ganja from an individual.

After planting the illegal crops, they then left the area and returned in September, but when they arrived at the farm, it was destroyed.

Singh told the Police that everything was sprayed with gramoxone – a chemical herbicide.

According to Singh, Gopaul and Sancharra started to use indecent language and decided to go to the individual who had given them the ganja plants.

But on the way, the trio met the individual’s workers who related that their ganja was also destroyed and weeds stolen, and started to assault them.

However, the three suspects indicated that their farm was also damaged, and took the workers there to prove it.

Singh said that they were then taken to the man who had given them the ganja plants, and while there, both Gopaul and Sancharra declared that they will “chop up” whoever destroyed their crop.

At that point, Singh said, the man told them that two “wicked black boys” does go in the backdam and destroy their “things”, and eat out their foods.

Singh said that they spent the night there, and the following morning, when they woke up, he again heard the other two suspects scheming about what they will do to whomever destroyed the ganja farm.

He said some time after, while he was in the camp, he heard the voices of Gopaul and Sancharra. There were other voices as well, and as such, he went to check on who else was there.

Singh told investigators that he saw Gopaul and Sancharra with two boys, and gave descriptions matching the Henry cousins.

He said the four of them were smoking weed and communicating when Gopaul raised the issue about the damaged ganja farm.

It was at that time that the “two boys” looked at each other and started to laugh.

According to Singh, Gopaul then told the boys that “I talking about my things being destroy and “y’all laughing, y’all gon feel pain”.

Singh said at that point the “tall one” get up and Gopaul dealt him a chop to the neck with a cutlass.

Sancharra then chopped the second boy to his neck.

Singh related that the two men kept firing chops about the bodies of the two young boys.

Singh said the boys’ bodies started “trembling” and then the two murderers turned to him to say that if he (Singh) does not join them, they will also kill him.

Singh related that he took a cutlass and started chopping at the two teens; he marked an ‘X’ on the forehead of one of the boys while Sancharra did the same to the other boy.

He then told the Police that duo left the camp with the bodies on a horseback, while he stayed back at the camp.

The account of what transpired is consistent with initial police findings that the area where the bodies of the teenage bodies were found was not the prime crime scene, but they were merely dumped there.

After his confession, Singh took investigators to the camp, and he pointed out where the murders took place.

According to the Crime Chief, only someone who is familiar with the area could have found the camp.

In the meantime, investigators are working aggressively to tie up the loose ends to ascertain the veracity of Singh’s confession.

Meanwhile, the Police say Gopaul, called Magga, is a known character with criminal background dating back to his teenage years.

He was first taken into prison at the age of 14 back in 2004, when he was accused of murdering his father, whom he reportedly shot dead.

Then in August 2007, Gopaul was among 18 prisoners who escaped from the New Amsterdam Prison. He was recaptured not long after in East Bank Berbice, but escaped a second time in June 2011. He was 19 at the time, and was among four prisoners who fled the New Amsterdam Prison.

He was rearrested during a Police dragnet. The cops had raided his home, and after seeing the Police, he made an attempt to escape by fleeing into the backlands, but ended up running into the Police dragnet.

More recently, however, Gopaul was sentenced to 18 months in his absence. He was then arrested in May 2019 during a cordon-and-search exercise, and at the time had 15 grams of cannabis in his possession. He was also wanted for questioning in a narcotics’ trafficking matter.

Additionally, Gopaul was also wanted for questioning in relation to several matters of robbery under arms.

The murders of the Henry cousins had sparked protests across several villages along the West Coast Berbice corridor, where commuters were beaten and robbed. With roads blocked, some vehicles were also torched.

Then days later, on September 9, 17-year-old Haresh Singh was found murdered at the Number Three Village backlands. It is suspected that his death was in retaliation for the murders of Isaiah and Joel, since he is related to one of the persons initially held by the Police for the cousins’ murders.

However, the Police are yet to make any breakthrough in that case.