The Anna Druzhinina Murder: Hanged by the neck until dead, body set on fire. “It’s not murder” says the DPP

Charles Leacock, DPP frightened of murder trials?

Charles Leacock, Barbados DPP frightened of murder trials?

“How does a child “accidentally” die from being strung up and hanged?  If this does not show clear intent to murder, then what does?”

Why did they burn the house?

Part 3 of 3 – a look at the Anna Druzhinina murder. Read Part 1 here.

By Amy L. Beam, Ed.D

Persaud and McCollin both stated they burned the house to destroy the evidence. This statement is not supported by the facts which DPP Leacock failed to present.  John Jackson had taken five years to build a section attached to the old plantation house at the back, as a gift of love for his wife, Larisa.  It was a beautiful, large bedroom suite, surrounded by windows and a magnificent view of the ocean.  One had to climb a staircase detached from the main house to get to it.  Persaud knew of the significance of this new part of the house.  It was as far from the spot of the murder as one can get.  They did not burn it to destroy evidence. Persaud instructed McCollin to burn it as part of his revenge on John Jackson to inflict maximum pain.  McCollin started the fire by lighting the cover and sheets on the king size bed.  No fuel was used.

The other section they set fire to was the front bedroom where they lay Anna across the bed.  This, too, was not the scene of the hanging.  Petrol and diesel was poured all over Anna’s body with a 6” line of it on the rug and tile floor, leading out the door and 5’ across the balcony.  As the Jackson’s car came up the long driveway, Persaud told McCollin and McCollin lit a match to the line of petrol then hid in the hallway so that when the parents entered the house they would see their daughter’s body burning.  Evidence indicates that Persaud was positioned in the room adjoining the bedroom waiting with the spear gun to attack Mr. Jackson when he came to Anna’s body.   Fortunately, John Jackson got to Anna’s body before flames engulfed her and he stomped out the flames.  The spear gun malfunctioned and Persaud fled the scene out the back and over the balcony.  When McCollin saw Persaud leaving, he too left down the staircase, swinging his ax at one of the dogs as he made his escape.

“Persaud knew that Anna’s father had hanged himself at the top of the stairs when she was a baby in Russia.  Persaud’s revenge plan was to hang Anna in the same manner in order to inflict maximum pain to her mother and step-father.”

The new bedroom suite on the back was entirely destroyed.  The burning was part of Persaud’s revenge plan. They did not bother to pour petrol or light a fire in the part of the house where they knocked Anna down, tied her up, or carried her to stand on the paint cans. All evidence of the actual location of their crime remained untouched by fire.  This explanation was not presented to the Court as evidence.

Persaud, not McCollin, must have got the fuel cans because the three dogs (including a Great Dane and Rottweiler) would have attacked McCollin if he went downstairs to search for fuel cans.  Persaud was known to the dogs, but McCollin was not.  Also, it was pitch black and there was no electricity for lights in the storeroom.  Only someone who knew the house would know where to get the fuel cans.

Murder or manslaughter?

DPP Leacock stated, “We could not prove the necessary intention to kill, but placing someone, who is tied, to stand on a bucket is wanton and deliberately reckless.”  Leacock further stated Persaud placed Anna in “a situation where death is almost certain.”

The police statements stated that McCollin warned Anna that if she moved she would die.   They knew with a certainty that she would die because they admitted to telling her as much, and then they left her until she collapsed to her certain death.  How does a child “accidentally” die from being strung up and hanged?  If this does not show clear intent to murder, then what does? 

There were 6 chairs in the dining room ten feet from the stairs where they hanged Anna.  They could have stood her on the chair instead of small paint cans precariously stacked one on top of the other on a wood floor that was sagging and unlevel.  More obviously, they could have tied her to the chair to immobilize her.  No.  Persaud knew that Anna’s father had hanged himself at the top of the stairs when she was a baby in Russia.  Persaud’s revenge plan was to hang Anna in the same manner in order to inflict maximum pain to her mother and step-father.  Persaud confessed that Anna pleaded for her life, pleaded for him not to hang her because her father had died like that.  She stated her daddy would give them whatever money they wanted.  When they heard her fall, McCollin’s confession states THEY got up to go see her.  “They” changed from 2010 to “McCollin” in 2012 presentations to the court.  McCollin said “She is not dead.”  Persaud instructed him “Leave her!  That’s one less for us to deal with.”  If this is not premeditated murder with clear intention to kill Anna, then what is?

Remorse or lack of human feeling?

On Dec. 4, 2012, on the date scheduled for his sentencing, Persaud said, “I would never expect something like that would happen.  I know I have sinned.”  It took Persaud more than 4 years to express one word of remorse.  The judge sternly told Persaud, “Although you admitted to police that you were present in the Jackson’s home when Anna Druzhinina fell off the cans and were intimately aware of the circumstances of her death, you quite curiously told the Probation Officer that you were “saddened to hear of death of the victim”.  Persaud told the probation officer, Ms. Dixon, he was not there at Palmers Plantation. The judge stated, “Far from conveying true remorse and a recognition that your acts and those of your co-accused had resulted in the victim’s death, your comments instead suggested to the Court a level of detachment from the victim – a girl you had known for many years which the Court found somewhat disconcerting.”  In open court, while recognizing Persaud’s so-called statement of remorse, the judge added her disdain to her prepared text, “You showed no emotion that a normal human being would show.”

Arrest warrant for Persaud prior to murder

The probation report given to the court states Persaud had a clean record and discounted his sentence for this.  Prior to the murder, Persaud attacked a man named Allan Aker and burst his ear drums by blows to the head during the beating. Allan at the time of Persaud’s attack on him was living in Blades Hill, with his wife and step-daughter. Persaud moved in with the step-daughter and married her bigamously to fraudulently obtain Barbados citizenship.  An arrest warrant was issued for the arrest of Persaud.  Mr. Jackson wrote to Leacock informing him of this.  Even though there was an arrest warrant for Persaud, when Persaud was in the hospital and police visited him there, he was not arrested. On Nov. 6, 2008, two days before Anna’s murder, Aker states he called the police to inform them of where Persaud was living at #3 Blades Hill, walking distance up the road from Palmers Plantation.  The police did not go to arrest Persaud.  DPP Leacock misrepresented the facts to the court in stating Persaud had a clean record.  Based on his “clean record,” he was given one year off of his sentence.

Why wasn’t maximum allowable sentence given?

Justice Crane-Scott stated in her sentencing of Persaud that “Guidelines as currently framed are woefully inadequate to enable the Court to do justice in this case.”  However, she also stated, “maximum custodial sentence which may be imposed on any person convicted of manslaughter is imprisonment for life . . . to be reserved only for the most serious manslaughter offences.”  Leacock argued and the judge concurred that the death of Anna “bordered on murder,” placing it in the category of “most serious manslaughter”.   So if the maximum allowable sentence for manslaughter is life imprisonment, but because of the law, the Court cannot “do justice in this case,” then one must conclude a harsher sentence is justifiable but not allowed.  What sentence is harsher than life in prison?  Only execution.  Why then did DPP Leacock give a starting point of 25 years before discounting for time already spent?  Why did Justice Crane-Scott sentence Persaud to just over 20 years instead of life imprisonment?

DPP Leacock urged life sentences for less vicious murder case

In July 2012, DPP Leacock argued for life in prison for the robbery and murder in their home of Gerhard Stock and Arthur Chadderton, vacationing from Austria in Barbados.  The murderer, Charles Matthew O’Brien Frederick, pleaded guilty to double manslaughter.  He stated he went for robbery, but when the owner of the home attacked him with a stick, he shot and killed him and his son.   DPP Leacock argued that “ from the evidence, it is clear that this was a robbery, in which the only evidence we have about the state of intention of the accused comes from him; and the evidence also comes from the complainants who said that when he went into the house, he demanded money. So clearly, this started out as a robbery.”    Leacock continued, “…based on operation of law, since the 1st September, 1994, in a case in which death results pursuant to a robbery or a burglary, those offences can only be considered manslaughter. And it is because of the law, I am duty bound to take this course.”  Leacock characterized the offences as the “…brutal, coldblooded, calculated, recidivist killing of two householders” and he urged the Court to impose life sentences and to “take the man off the streets for the rest of his natural life.”

Justice Crane-Scott stated, “the circumstances of this horrendous double killing of 2 innocent victims with a firearm within the confines of their own home during a home-invasion, have also outraged the sensibilities of members of the public both at home and abroad. I am satisfied that in addition to protecting the public from serious harm from you, the imposition of life sentences for these 2 offences will also have a denunciatory value, and be reflective of public abhorrence which Barbadians and the wider international community feel for the horrendous circumstances of these killings.”  She sentenced Frederick to TWO life sentences to run concurrently.  Her entire judgment may be read at http://www.lawcourts.gov.bb/LawLibrary/events.asp?id=884 .

I ask the international community and the caring public of Barbados to speak out and show their PUBLIC ABHORRENCE for the murder of Anna Druzhinina in her home and travesty of justice in the manslaughter sentences.  Teerath Persaud was sentenced to 25 years for manslaughter.  He could be out in approximately 17 years.  Christopher McCollin was sentenced to 16 years for manslaughter.  He could be out in approximately 10 years.  Both men had their sentences reduced by time already served and other factors.  Do Barbadians want these men to walk freely in our country?

More than 200 comments regarding the murder of Anna Druzhinina, including details from her father, John Jackson, have been posted at the Barbados Underground (BU) blog where, like the Barbados Free Press, censorship is not supported.  You can see those comments on Barbados Underground here.

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15 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

15 responses to “The Anna Druzhinina Murder: Hanged by the neck until dead, body set on fire. “It’s not murder” says the DPP

  1. Robert Ross

    The writer states that Leacock admitted that the child’s death was “almost certain”. If that is accurate, and if the jury accepted that this is what the co-accused foresaw, then as I have said on two previous occasions
    the mental element in murder is satisfied and I do not understand why murder charges were not pursued. But I do not accept the writer’s judgement that this was ‘premeditated murder’, in other words that the accused had planned to kill the child or had formed that plan at the house. The fact that most ordinary people would say that what they did was horrendous and that it would lead to the child’s death, is not the issue. The question turns on what their aim or purpose was or what they actually foresaw in terms of the level of foresight they had. What the ordinary person would have foreseen provides evidence of what the accused foresaw or intended but it is not conclusive.

    I don’t understand what Leacock means by “deliberate recklessness” – in theory it is a contradiction in terms. I suppose he means they wilfully shut their eyes to the obvious – and were therefore reckless.

    As with the other posts, the writer is obviously and naturally very emotional about this horrible case. There will always be things which are not disclosed and explanations for this or that apparent contradiction. And of course we can’t hear those. At the end of it, for what it’s worth as someone who has ‘worked’ in this area for over 45 years, my view is that Leacock got it wrong but that the sentences though they might appear light were just about on a par with what might have been expected. Sentencing guidelines are just that, guidelines, but they tend to be followed slavishly. Of course, you still have to figure out what was more rather than less serious unless, for example, there is a suggested minimum. The maximum penalty for manslaughter is indeed ‘life’ but less than that the sentence is ‘at large’ and judgement is necessary. Without hearing all the evidence and weighing it detached from emotional response, I’m not clear that these sentences were wrong – though I can well understand why the writer might think so.

    As for censorship on the so-called ‘free presses’ – there are various forms of censorship which, I do assure you Amy L, are far more tricksy than you suppose Leacock or the Nation are capable of. But I will leave you to work out that one. There is also the wilful publication of lies. I’ve no doubt I shall be hearing from poor ‘sandbox’, or whatever he/she calls himself now, in due course for a second instalment of invective and personalized rubbish which actually addresses nothing very much, though I can well understand that you would be happier for it..

  2. Unquestionable premeditation

    Sorry RR

    this is complete premeditation from beginning to end

    No nuances or splitting hairs.

    there is no need to complicate and postulate on other interpretations

  3. tedd

    it is cries like this that people should be hanged for. hanged not sentenced to be hanged but actually hanged.

  4. tedd

    it is crimes like this

  5. Amy L. Beam

    RR
    I think you think my reasoning is impaired because I am too emotional. I will ignore this condescending insult. Yes, I am emotional, but it has not blinded me to the truth; it has opened my eyes. I would like to see justice saved or restored in Barbados for the benefit of the entire population. As for hearing the evidence, the heart of the problem is stated at the beginning of this 3-part story where I ask, “Why didn’t DPP Charles Leacock bring murder charges and hold a murder trial?” I have confidence that had there been a jury trial, the jury would have evaluated the evidence and found Persaud guilty of murder. Without a trial, the public cannot review the evidence unless the court registrar will release the transcripts and documents. Justice is not well-served in secrecy and censorship.

  6. Robert Ross

    Amy Beam

    There is no condescending insult unless it suits your purpose to find one. BUT I think you are emotional and I fully understand why – whether you are who say you are or not. You must not find insults from those who do not agree with you, or accept your version of things, entirely. If you do, then sorry this post has become mere manipulation – something which is not consistent with a ‘free’ press which you purport to champion.

    As for the position had there been a jury trial – I agree with you.

  7. Robert Ross

    Unquestionable

    You don’t agree with me. Fine. Quot homines and all that

  8. 98

    I cannot find the words to describe this act. She begged for her life. If they had a beef with the father, deal with him but leave the innocent child out of it. Crane-Scott is a lovely lady as I recall but sometimes when you don’t hve the clear facts or your hands are tied there is not much you can do. I grieved as a mother, but Karma will one day show its face because Justice has not been served for this child. That is what happens when you overlook you own who is well capable and educated.. remember Sir Clifford Husbands, & Elliott Belgrave – no-nonsense men.

  9. 98

    These men would have handled it differently and these bastards would have gotten the full length of the law.

  10. Watching

    I hear now the DPP Charles Leacock is working on allowing an appeal for the Guyanese Persaud,to get him an even lighter sentence.
    Why does he not just put the man into the Hilton and we pay the bill.
    Just put the bastard anywhere we can get at him.

  11. Rastaman

    @Watching: Did not know that it was up to the DPP to allow or disallow an appeal.

  12. Robert Ross

    Watching

    Please tell me how the DPP has the power to grant an appeal against sentence or, as you say, “work for one”? Or have you been talking to your big boys again, your “members of the inner bar’? Do THEY treat you seriously? Get a life.

    Rasta

    Don’t be fooled by everything you read..

  13. Pingback: Anna Druzhinina murder: Persaud appealing sentence, Barbados Court stonewalls journalist | Barbados Free Press

  14. theloudestconscience

    The judicial system is one in which a man can get away with murder, but no one escapes tax evasion.
    Requiscant Im Pace, Anna.

  15. Pingback: How long since we had an actual MURDER TRIAL in Barbados? | Barbados Free Press

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