Trinidad: Bandits beat, rob family before setting home on fire

 A Ch­agua­nas fam­i­ly is count­ing them­selves lucky to be alive af­ter they were bound, beat­en and robbed by three masked ban­dits who al­so set their home of nine years on fire be­fore they fled the area as well.

But even as the fam­i­ly is deal­ing with the trau­ma of their night of ter­ror, they be­lieve the po­lice could have pre­vent­ed it.

On Sat­ur­day night around 10 pm, Niru­pa Esau, 28, was dropped off at her St Thomas Vil­lage home by her boyfriend. How­ev­er, she got an un­ex­pect­ed greet­ing when she en­tered.

“As soon as I opened the door some­one grabbed me, pushed me in­side and said don’t scream. They pro­ceed­ed to my bed­room, gagged me and start­ed to ran­sack the home,” a tear­ful Niru­pa told Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day amongst sev­er­al friends and rel­a­tives who had ral­lied to the fam­i­ly to show them sup­port.

At first, Niru­pa said she was alone with the masked men but one hour lat­er her par­ents Mani­ram and De­o­raj Esau came home.

“So when mom came she called me by my home name, but they then grabbed her, tied her up and threw her to the ground,” Niru­pa re­called.

Niru­pa said her fa­ther was al­so re­strained be­fore the 49-year-old cater­er was beat­en about the body while the ban­dits de­mand­ed cash and valu­ables. One of her fa­ther’s teeth was knocked out dur­ing the as­sault. She said the men then took them to an out­side room one by one and one of the men stayed with them. It was dur­ing this time they thought they’d be killed. Around 2 am on Sun­day morn­ing the ban­dits left with cash and valu­ables.

But their or­deal was far from over. When the fam­i­ly mem­bers fi­nal­ly freed them­selves they no­ticed the ground floor of their two-storey home on fire.

“We screamed for the neigh­bour and he came with a grinder to try to open the bur­glar proof­ing be­cause they locked it,” Niru­pa said.

With their neigh­bour’s help they were able to es­cape and even­tu­al­ly put out the fire.

The fam­i­ly said this was the third time in five years they’d been at­tacked by crim­i­nals.

“A few years back they robbed us then. Lat­er on, they al­so at­tempt­ed to mur­der my par­ents by break­ing their bed­room win­dow and start­ed to shoot. We don’t in­ter­fere with any­body, we are just hard work­ing cit­i­zens,” Niru­pa said, wip­ing the tears from her eyes.

But the fam­i­ly be­lieves the po­lice could have pre­vent­ed this and even catch the crim­i­nals in the act.

Niru­pa said her boyfriend grew sus­pi­cious when she did not an­swer his cus­tom­ary call to en­sure that she was safe­ly in­side her home Sun­day. She said the ban­dits forced her to an­swer once and tell him she was not feel­ing well and would speak with the fol­low­ing day. But she said this on­ly am­pli­fied his con­cern.

Her boyfriend went to the Ch­agua­nas Po­lice Sta­tion but Niru­pa said his re­port was not tak­en se­ri­ous­ly. “They kind of in­sin­u­at­ed that this is a lover’s quar­rel and she will talk to you in the morn­ing, then they said they would fol­low him but turned away up­on reach­ing an in­ter­sec­tion,” she told Guardian Me­dia.

The fam­i­ly’s home is on­ly five min­utes dri­ving dis­tance from that po­lice sta­tion. Niru­pa said on Sun­day they at­tempt­ed to make an­oth­er re­port but were told to get med­ical ex­ams at first and on­ly her fa­ther’s of­fi­cial state­ment was tak­en a day lat­er on Mon­day.

Niru­pa said while the po­lice felt it was a do­mes­tic dis­pute case, it al­so re­vealed they do not take do­mes­tic dis­putes se­ri­ous­ly and giv­en the cur­rent state of the so­ci­ety it was the wrong ap­proach.

The fam­i­ly is cur­rent­ly ren­o­vat­ing their home but ad­mit­ted they were now con­sid­er­ing mov­ing away as three in­ci­dents in five years have made them un­com­fort­able. They could not, how­ev­er, say why they seem to be tar­get­ed by the ban­dits.

Con­tact­ed for com­ment on the is­sue yes­ter­day, Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith said he did not have any in­for­ma­tion on the case. How­ev­er, he took the fam­i­ly’s phone num­ber and promised to con­tact them so he could get more de­tails.