A property dispute is said to be at the heart of the deaths of a father and his two daughters who perished in a fire at their Lot 65 Robb and King Streets, Georgetown home in 2014. This was shared by businessman John Pyreandy when the trial commenced this morning for the two men accused of setting the home on fire.
Pyreandy, who told the court that he has been a businessman for the past 25 years, was called to testify this morning in the trial of Ganga Kishna and Avishkar Bissoon who are accused of the November 17, 2014 murder of 63-year-old Randolph Thomas and his two daughters Tressa Rozario, 14, and Feresa Rozario, 11.
The two murder accused are on trial before Justice Brassington Reynolds at the High Court in Demerara. They have been indicted on three counts of murder for which they have pleaded not guilty.
State Prosecutor Seeta Bishundial, in her opening remarks to the jury, had said that the girls and their father were asleep when a fire broke out at their home at around 2 AM on the day in question.
According to Prosecutor Bishundial, the sisters were left trapped in the building and perished in the fire while their father jumped through a window. Thomas, who sustained second and third-degree burns, succumbed on December 21, 2014 while receiving treatment at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH).
During his testimony, Pyreandy told the court that he operated a business at the lower flat of the Lot 65 Robb and King Street premises which was a wooden and concrete three-storey structure.
From the evidence, it was gathered that Kishna and the family had been involved in a dispute over the property. He said that a few days prior to the deadly fire, he saw Kishna at the premises with a blowtorch which was connected to two 100 pounds gas cylinders in his car. The witness said that another man was present with Kishna and together they were removing the grilles from the building. Pyreandy identified both Kishna and Bissoon who were seated in the prisoner’s dock.
According to the businessman, police were summoned to the scene and Kishna went into his car and retrieved some documents which he showed to the police, claiming ownership of the property. Pyreandy told the jury, “I told the police it wasn’t his building and the police told us to accompany them to the Brickdam Police Station.” He said two days later, Kishna came to the business place and began using threatening language.
“I came out and I met him there and he [Kishna] was speaking to a couple of people there saying that the property is his own. I approached him and I asked him to leave and he turned to me and said that the property is his own and he is not going to leave,” Pyreandy recalled.
He said he responded and told Kishna, “You’re a mad man” and Kishna replied, “You’re going to see who is a mad man when I burn it down.”
The witness told the court that he then summoned ranks from the Brickdam Police Station and a patrol was sent to the location. According to Pyreandy, he followed the patrol in his vehicle while Kishna was taken to the station. He said, too, that Sergeant Williams repeatedly warned Kishna to stay away from the premises and to let the court resolve the issue.
The witness recalled that he and Kishna left the police station together and Kishna told him that he will regret all the money he had invested in the building. Pyreandy related that Kishna told him, “The first time he burnt it [the building] it didn’t come down but this time he will bring it down.” In response, Pyreandy said he told him, “You will go to jail” and Kishna responded, “I will get people to burn it.”
At this point, Pyreandy was asked by Prosecutor Bishundial to recall what happened on November 17, 2014 at around 2 AM. The witness said, “That morning I received a phone call from one of my staff. I left in a hurry and went down to Robb and King Streets. When I approached the building I saw the whole top flat [where the family resided] and the middle floor were on fire. It was already burnt out. The businessman said that he did not see Thomas nor his two daughters and revealed that the building was not insured.”
This trial is continuing.