Preliminary Inquiry begins in La Sagesse murder

Two witnesses have given evidence in the Preliminary Inquiry into the charge of murder brought by the State in connection with the death of 39-year-old American Jessica Colker.

Andrew Hancock  - the first witness to take to the Witness stand

Andrew Hancock – the first witness to take to the Witness stand

The American woman from Georgia met her demise allegedly at the hands of Coals Gap resident, Dave Benjamin, an ex-convict who was just released from Her Majesty’s Prison at Richmond Hill, after doing a five-year jail term for rape.

Colker was raped and then killed on January 24 while taking an early morning stroll with her husband on Lespair Beach, a remote black sand beach just past La Sagesse Beach in St David.

She was chopped to death one day after arriving in Grenada on holiday by a man using a cutlass and who covered his face with a scarf.

The Preliminary Inquiry, which began on January 29 at the St. David’s Magistrate Court before Magistrate Karen Noel, saw United Kingdom resident Andrew Hancock, taking to the witness stand on the second day of hearing on Monday.

Hancock was a guest at the La Sagesse Nature Centre on the day that Colker was killed.

The British national had identified Benjamin in a police parade as the person he saw and held a brief conversation with on the beach hours before the murder.

Hancock was questioned by Senior Crown Counsel, Howard Pinnock on certain events around the time of Colker’s death and days after the body was discovered.

Attorney-at-law, Andre Thomas of Franco Chambers who has been retained to represent the murder accused rose to put a few questions to the witness.

During Monday’s hearing, the Prosecution also called onto the Witness stand, the husband of the deceased, Brian Melito.

Although it was a difficult time for him, Melito was still able to maintain his composure and give a concise synopsis of the events on the fateful day that his wife was murdered.

He is due back on the witness stand again today (Friday) to be cross-examined by Benjamin’s attorney.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the State has assembled 18 witnesses to give evidence in the case against Benjamin.

Dave Benjamin as he leaves the St David's Magistrate's Court

Dave Benjamin as he leaves the St David’s Magistrate’s Court

Senior Crown Counsel Pinnock said the number is likely to increase as the police are still collecting evidence to use against the accused.

Speculation is rife that the lawmen are trying to get witness statements from at least two persons who claimed that they were allegedly told by the accused that he had killed a woman on the beach.

When he was taken into custody, Benjamin denied that he was involved in the La Sagesse killing of the American visitor to the island.

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