“In 2012, Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock reversed the roles of McCollin and Persaud, portraying McCollin as the mastermind, saying he “instructed” Persaud to get some wire, and he “instructed” Persaud to get some paint cans.”
“While sitting on the balcony waiting, they heard the paint cans fall.“
When she collapsed, her death by strangulation did not come quickly. Her body must have turned and twitched as is normal in a hanging death. Since McCollin stated “She is not dead,” when she collapsed, Persaud had time to lift her body to save her. Instead, he ordered McCollin to “Leave her. That’s one less for us to deal with.”
If that isn’t murder, then what is?
Part 2 of 3 – a look at the Anna Druzhinina murder. Read Part 1 here.
By Amy L. Beam, Ed.D.
Who surprised who?
In 2010 at the manslaughter trial for the accomplice McCollin, as reported in the local press, DPP Leacock stated Persaud and McCollin surprised Anna. As they entered through the bottom of the house, they could hear her upstairs drawing water to water the plants. They surprised her in her bedroom at her computer. McCollin stated in his confession that Persaud dragged her across the bedroom rug by her hair, put the noose around her neck, put his foot on her back, and jerked her head back and forth viciously enough for McCollin to state he was “frightened” from Persaud. In 2012, DPP Leacock did not present these facts and reversed his statement, stating Persaud and McCollin were surprised by Anna.
Who was the leader?
In 2010, Andrew Pilgrim, Defence attorney for McCollin, said the facts “clearly revealed who was the leader and who was the follower. McCollin was led by the man [Persaud] and he was a secondary part of the plan. He had no interest in the offence other than robbery. He was told by the principal actor that he would get some weed whackers.” McCollin states he was frightened of Persaud when he watched the manner in which he yanked Anna’s head back and forth with the noose around her neck. DPP Leacock recommended 16 to 20 years for manslaughter for McCollin. In 2010, after McCollin was sentenced for manslaughter, Leacock explained he had to accept McCollin’s manslaughter plea in order to have him testify as a witness in the murder trial which he promised for Persaud. Yet, none of McCollin’s testimony was used and no murder trial was held.
In 2012, Leacock reversed the roles of McCollin and Persaud, portraying McCollin as the mastermind, saying he “instructed” Persaud to get some wire, and he “instructed” Persaud to get some paint cans. In spite of clear evidence and statements to the police to the contrary, Leacock accepted Persaud’s plea that he never laid a hand on Anna, was not in the room when she was tied up, did not go to see her hanging when she collapsed off the paint cans, and did not search the house for items to steal. Leacock recommended 25 years for Persaud, longer than he had recommended for McCollin the accomplice.
Was a towel tossed over Anna’s head?
Justice Crane-Scott stated in her sentencing, presumably from DPP Leacock’s representation, that a towel was tossed over Anna’s head so she could not see. Logically, this did not make sense. In order not to see out from under a towel tossed over one’s head, the towel would have to be a large bath towel. If that were the case, then how could the noose be tied without the towel interfering? A common blue checkered kitchen towel was folded and tied tightly around Anna’s eyes catching her long hair in the knot. When the Jackson’s found her, the towel was slipped down around her neck.
When they identified the knotted towel later at the police station, Anna’s hair that had been pulled from her head was still tied in the knot. This evidence is not disputed.
Why did DPP Leacock misrepresent the evidence and say a towel was “tossed over her head?”
Who put her on the paint cans?
In 2010, DPP Leacock stated Druzhinina was home alone when the two entered. According to local press coverage, DPP Leacock stated they seized her, bound her hands and feet as she screamed and begged for her life. But in 2012, Persaud’s defence attorney stated to the court “the facts reveal he [Persaud] wasn’t even in the room.” Leacock did not contest this.
Since Anna was placed to stand on the paint cans, she must have been conscious in order to stand. They put something in her mouth, because they stated she was screaming. Quite obviously, it would have taken two people to restrain her while one went for the electrical cord, and then while they tied her hands and legs, blindfolded her, put a noose around her neck, and put her to stand on the cans. McCollin must have held her while Persaud went downstairs to the store room to get the electrical cord with which he made the noose, or possibly they came with the cord in the first place.
Persaud had to have been in the room in order to bring the cord to tie Anna. If they arrived with the cord for the noose, it shows intent to murder. McCollin’s testimony states it took the two of them four attempts to get her balanced on the paint cans. If McCollin did most of the lifting, it would have been due to the fact that Persaud was still recovering from the gunshot wound to his left arm. Knowing these facts, having accepted the written confession of McCollin whom Leacock in 2010 stated he would use as a witness against Persaud, in 2012, DPP Leacock presented the case stating that according to Persaud he was not in the room when Anna was bound and when she was put on the paint cans at the top of the stairs. Leacock did not present the evidence that clearly showed Persaud did touch Anna and was in the rooms with her.
How long was Anna on the cans?
Persaud and McCollin entered the house at approximately 5:20 PM. Up until approximately that time, Anna had been active on her FaceBook. The co-accomplices did not leave until the Jackson’s returned home at 11:30 pm. In 2010, Leacock stated that while Anna stood on the cans, both Persaud and McCollin sat on the front balcony drinking drinks from the refrigerator, waiting for her parents to arrive home. Persaud confessed they put Anna to stand on the paint cans for “a very long time.” They then searched the house. In 2012, Leacock stated Anna fell off her perch while McCollin was searching the house for things to steal.
One might infer from Leacock’s statement that Anna stood on the cans for only a few minutes before falling and hanging. Evidence clearly shows they were in the house for over six hours. They had finished searching the house, stacked the computers ready to steal and sat down to wait.
While sitting on the balcony waiting, they heard the paint cans fall.
When Anna’s father arrived home at 11:30 pm, he ran into the bedroom and stomped out the flames on the carpet, then scooped up Anna’s body and put his cheek on hers. It was still warm and her body was limp. Rigor mortis takes 3 hours to set in. Justice Crane-Scott, in her sentencing stated, “She was placed to stand on a precarious perch with a noose round her neck and in the view of the Court the victim suffered a thousand deaths before her inevitable death by strangulation took place.”
Did Anna slip, jump, or collapse?
In 2010, Leacock stated Anna “slipped off by accident” when presenting McCollin’s manslaughter case. In 2012, DPP Leacock changed “slipped” to “jumped”, as this is the word used by Justice Crane-Scott in her sentencing. Leacock stated that Persaud said McCollin said Anna “jumped off” the cans. Would Anna willing “jump” to her death? These terms of “slipped off by accident” and “jumped off” offend one’s senses. They are loaded with fault for Anna’s behavior, not Persaud’s intent to kill her, as if Anna carelessly brought about her own death. Must the public endure such contempt from DPP Leacock by being told it was an accidental death? Why didn’t DPP Leacock present the unadorned brutal truth with the most accurate definition of what happened? Anna collapsed either from exhaustion or lack of circulation and was hanged. How long did she stand barefoot on those cans, fighting for her life, struggling to breathe with the noose around her neck cutting off her air every time her body sagged, before she inevitably gave out? When she collapsed, her death by strangulation did not come quickly. Her body must have turned and twitched as is normal in a hanging death. Since McCollin stated “She is not dead,” when she collapsed, Persaud had time to lift her body to save her. Instead, he ordered McCollin to “Leave her. That’s one less for us to deal with.”
Revenge or robbery?
In 2008, an altercation over $100,000 BB in missing money occurred between Teerath Persaud and his employer, John Jackson, owner of S0-LO wholesale food store in Black Rock. Jackson states Persaud came at him with a knife and he shot Persaud in the left arm. When police arrived they found the knife which is in police custody as evidence. It has twice been presented in court. While recovering in the hospital, nurses heard Persaud promising (screaming, I am told) to take revenge on John Jackson. After being discharged from the hospital, Persaud rented a room walking distance from Palmers Plantation up in the country. Two months after being shot, Persaud had his revenge by murdering Jacksons’ daughter.
In 2010, DPP Leacock stated Persaud came for “revenge and robbery” and recruited his accomplice Christopher McCollin by telling him they were going to go for a robbery. In 2010, DPP Leacock stated that after stringing Anna up, they then searched the house.
In 2012, DPP Leacock has now changed Persaud’s motive from “revenge and robbery” to “going to steal some garden tools.” Leacock now tells the court that Persaud stated he did not participate in searching the house for things to steal, thus further confirming the fact that he came for revenge alone, not robbery as portrayed by Leacock. Evidence shows that the garden tools were never touched. Persaud and his accomplice waited six hours in the house for Anna’s parents to return home. Is this the behavior of thieves intent on stealing some garden tools? How much insult must we endure with such a preposterous lie?