“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.