After months of being stalked, threatened and brutalised, Penal mother Reshma Kanchan met a horrific death via the cutlass of a former lover yesterday.
With support for her two children hard the come by, the 25-year-old cleaner left her Laltoo Trace Extension home for her Unemployment Relief Programme job at a school in Debe just before 9 am. But as she walked along the road, the man sprung on her, chopping her hand, face and neck. So severe was the attack that he almost severed her neck. Kanchan died in a neighbour’s driveway while the man drove off in a black Nissan Wingroad.
Villager Heeraman Jaglal said the man later crashed into a bin outside the Simon Say Chinese restaurant and the tyre blew out. Police said it appeared the suspect, an electrician from Siparia, slit his neck as he drove off.
Jaglal said he took the man to the side of the road as he bled profusely from his neck. Jaglal said a relative came and wrapped the man’s neck with a T-shirt until an ambulance took him to the San Fernando General Hospital. He underwent treatment and remained under police guard last night.
As Kanchan’s body lay on the hot asphalt, her daughters Shivani, five and Carissa, two, walked around the yard, unaware of the pain their relatives were experiencing in their home.
“Bring back my daughter please,” Davica Kanchan shouted as she sat in front her temple in the front yard.
Davica recalled that the family made several reports of domestic abuse to Penal police but the officers would only warn the man.
“The man kept calling her since five o’clock this morning. She told the man, ‘I am busy, I have to go to work. Do not call me. Do not harass me.’ She told the man that the child did not have pampers, and that is the last words I heard her say as she walked out the road,” Davica told Guardian Media.
“From what I heard, he was waiting down the road for her. All I know is that my sister-in-law called this morning and asked if everything OK.”
With the children asleep, Davica thought all was well until police visited their home and delivered the news that someone had cut her daughter’s throat and she died on the spot.
Kanchan and the man shared a seven-year relationship filled with abuse and torment. Five months ago, Kanchan decided she had had enough and she and her girls moved on with their lives. However, the man went to their home several times and allegedly abused her. Davica claimed recently, he took a cutlass from the back of his pick-up truck, placed it on the front seat and told Kanchan he would slit her throat.
“Sunday morning, he came again and threatened her and me. We called the police but they never came. He told her that he would not allow her to live her life, he would destroy her. He wanted to make up, but she said ‘No,’ she could not live that kind of life anymore; the cursing and abuse.”
Davica said the man lived in her house for five months and during that time, she allegedly witnessed the abuse. When she and her younger daughter Beena got involved, he abused them as well.
Beena said on Kanchan’s birthday in 2019, Kanchan had one of the girls in her arms when the man began hitting her.
“When we went to take the child, he hit my mother and I and we put him in court. We did not further the case because she (Kanchan) said she wanted to make a living with him and she wanted to try again, so we left the case right there,” Beena said.
The brutal killing took place metres away from where Premnath Ramkhalawan stabbed his wife Aarika Bhim in the back of her car, approximately 100 metres from their Laltoo Trace home, in 2015. Bhim was holding her then three-year-old daughter at the time.
The child’s grandfather Purnanand Bhim found her, still clutching her mother’s bloodied body. Relatives found Ramkhalawan’s body hanging at the back of their home.
The International Women’s Resource Network (IWRN) yesterday appealed to men to help other men to unlearn toxic behaviour. The IWRN said this would ultimately help men to manage their emotions, especially as it relates to rejection.
“This call comes on the heels of the tragic loss of yet another woman, young Reshma Kanchan, a mother of two, who was beheaded earlier today, allegedly by a close male relative who also attempted to take his own life,” the IRWN said in a release hours after Kanchan was chopped to death by an abusive ex-lover.
The IWRN said it was now a common trend for men to harm themselves after murdering their spouses, adding such a trend points to a larger societal problem involving learnt behaviour that breathes toxicity and narcissism over prolonged periods.
“The narrative of domestic violence must change from being reactive to proactive, as issues which ignite domestic violence would always be present in families. However, as a country, we have a moral responsibility as State and civil society, to collectively develop effective and sustainable strategies,” it said.
“Whilst the IWRN facilitates customised types of activities for men, it is insufficient and would demonstrate minimal progress unless and until male professionals in this country commit to engaging with men to help in unlearning toxic behaviour. This process must begin by not objectifying women which is one of the major stumbling blocks that have been impeding the mindset of men for years.”
The IWRN asked that all domestic violence victims (both male and female) report all incidents to its hotline at 795-9531, the Gender-Based Violence Unit at 999 or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-SAVE.
• Polly Ann Chuniesingh, 31
She was strangled along with her brother Damian and uncle Randy, allegedly by her ex-lover on January 6.
• Jezelle Phillip-Fournillier, 48
A principal at Baby’s Pre-School in Port-of-Spain, she was stabbed to death outside a daycare by her 43-year-old estranged lover on January 6
• Gabriella Dubarry, 28
The mother of one was shot dead by an estranged lover who stormed her parent’s Avocat Village home on January 8.
• Naiee Singh, 31
A mother of one, her husband Roger Singh shot her in her head outside the Ramsingh Building in Couva on January 27. He then shot himself.
• Tricia Ramsaran, 37
She was beaten and strangled to death by a man she lived with in Barrackpore. The 50-year-old man then walked into the police station and confessed on June 9.
• Adanna Stacy Dick, 36
Dick was on her way to report domestic abuse at the hands of a former lover when the man ambushed her at a bus shed in Claxton Bay and stabbed her to death on June 30.
• Vera Golabie, 26
A mother of three, her throat was slit and she was stabbed several times by a Special Reserve Police constable at her home in Matura on July 29.
• Sherian Huggins, 29
Huggins was chopped to death by her husband Kevon “LA” Harris at their Laventille home on September 2. Harris was later found hanging from a tree at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain.
• Joanna Diaz Sanchez, 33
A Venezuelan, she was beaten to death. Her boyfriend dumped her in a cesspit behind his home in Preysal, Couva. She was found on September 3.