17-year old Chrispin Joseph who dropped out from JW Fletcher Catholic Secondary School made his first court appearance Wednesday in connection with last weekend’s rape and murder of 9-year old Ariel Bhola of Frequente in the south of the island.
There was a heavy police presence in and around the St. George’s No.2 Magistrate’s Court as the murder accused appeared before Magistrate Tahira Gellineau to answer the charge of Capital Murder.
Several reporters who were covering the case were prevented by a few police officers on duty from getting close to the suspect to take photographs.
It was an emotional atmosphere around the court as scores of angry persons assembled to get a glimpse of the youngster who was charged Tuesday for killing Ariel.
One family member of the young girl told THE NEW TODAY that revenge is uppermost in their minds at this moment.
He threatened to “smoke out” the family members of the accused from Frequente as they are not fit to be living anymore in the area among them.
There are unconfirmed reports that a relative of Ariel was prevented from hurling a lighted torch into the house where Joseph was staying with his family.
Ariel who went missing last Friday was subsequently found by a search party the following day in a bushy area close to where she lived.
The young girl who was a student of the Grand Anse Roman Catholic School was reported missing to the police by her mother after she did not return home from school.
One of her friends reported seeing the 9-year-old walking in the vicinity of her home clad in her school uniform, school shoes in her hands and a water boots in her foot.
According to the friend, a male figure was seen walking very close to her as the young girl headed home.
In anticipation of a huge civilian presence to get a glimpse of the accused, the police escorted the school drop-out about an hour before the scheduled 9.00 a.m on the precincts of the court.
The heavy armed Special Services Unit (SSU) was quite visible to help keep the peace following reports that family members of the deceased were prepared to take matters in their hands.
Several onlookers hurled threatening language in the direction of young Joseph as he emerged from the court house and then swiftly taken away from the scene by law enforcement officers.
The 17-year-old Joseph who was without legal representation in court was remanded by Magistrate Gellineau to Her Majesty’s Prison at Richmond Hill until his next court appearance on December 12.
A resident of Frequente told this newspaper that she is very familiar with the accused who came from a troubled home.
“I know him – sad, sad.sad … it hurts me to see how he turned out. His sister has a child for his brother. This is a curse in the house”, she said.
According to the neighbour, the youngster was accused in the past of raping a disabled person in the community but money was paid out to the victim to keep the matter away from the police.
The murder of Ariel brings Grenada’s murder rate to 12 for 2017.
THE NEW TODAY called Police headquarters on Fort George to express concern with the manner in which reporters covering the event were manhandled and pushed aside in some cases by some police officers especially a female officer on duty.