A little over five years after murdered Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya’s body was found in the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, following Carnival celebrations, the T&T Police Service (TTPS) has officially closed the case.
The closure of the investigation did not end with the arrest and charge of a suspect, however, but rather with the police identifying a man who was shot and killed in a robbery in late 2016 as the possible killer.
In a release issued yesterday, the TTPS revealed that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard SC had reviewed the case file submitted by detectives of the Cold Case Unit on Thursday and expressed satisfaction that the investigation was thoroughly done.
“He (Gaspard) concluded that all the evidence pointed to one suspect, David Allen, who was killed in a police-involved shooting on December 12th, 2016, in Woodbrook,” the release said.
The release also gave details of Allen’s criminal history, noting that the 31-year-old from Enterprise, Chaguanas, was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer when he attempted to rob Stir Fry King Restaurant and Casino at Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook. Allen allegedly posed as a woman, complete with make-up and tight-fitted clothing, during the ill-fated robbery attempt.
According to the TTPS, it was not the first time Allen had used a disguise to commit a violent crime.
In 2004, Allen, then 18, also allegedly disguised himself as a vagrant and attempted to rob TSTT technician Darryn Baksh as he was leaving 51 Degrees nightclub on Cipriani Boulevard, Port-of-Spain. Baksh resisted, was shot in the stomach and later died at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.
In 2012, Allen, who was charged with Baksh’s murder, was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter. The State accepted his guilty plea and he was sentenced to four years and six months, in addition to the eight years he spent awaiting trial.
Nagakiya, 30, an avid steelpan player and a member of the Nutrien Silver Stars Steel Orchestra since 2012, had been visiting T&T for Carnival for almost a decade before she decided to play mas.
When her body was found at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Ash Wednesday, she was still in her Carnival costume from the band Legacy. An autopsy revealed that she had been strangled.
Nagakiya’s murder struck a chord with Russian forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov, who performed the autopsy and spoke openly about the case while doing a presentation at the Ministry of Education’s Caribbean Youth Science Forum at the University of the West Indies in August 2017.
Revealing pictures of Nagakiya’s body, Alexandrov pointed out to the students how he was able to assist police in building a profile of her killer. He said the marks of violence on her neck showed that her attacker was left-handed and bite marks on her cheeks showed that the attacker was missing between four and six front teeth. He claimed the information was used to clear the ten suspects who were initially detained for the crime.