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.