Brickdam fire: Suspect gave wrong name, address to cops; no assault seen on video confession
By Isanella Patoir
Twenty-six-year-old Clarence Greene known as ‘Molly’ of Charlestown, Georgetown who is accused of setting a massive fire to the Brickdam Police Station on October 2, provided detectives with wrong names and different home addresses when he was arrested for the offence of robbery.
Greene was arrested early Saturday – hours before the fire started. After he and other prisoners were removed from the burning building and taken to the Sparendaam Police Station on the East Coast of Demerara, he gave the police two wrong names and four different addresses by the time he reached the Criminal Investigation Department at Eve Leary in Georgetown.
Two of the incorrect addresses included the Sophia and Princes Street communities in Georgetown.
The police had initially claimed that Greene resided at Princes Street, Lodge, Georgetown, but the News Room made attempts to locate his house; it turns out the lot number does not exist and no one along the stretch of road seemed to know who Greene is.
It was only Wednesday that the authorities confirmed that Greene actually resided in Charlestown.
Since his alleged confession to setting the Brickdam Police Station on fire, there have been claims made by his attorneys that he was forced and assaulted to sign and record the confession statement.
However, in a part of the video confession seen by the News Room, it was observed that the interview by the detectives and Greene’s confession was conducted in a calm and professional manner.
The News Room did not observe Greene being assaulted. Greene was told of his rights by a detective sergeant and was also told that he can have a lawyer or family member present.
He was interviewed by the detective at about 22:56hrs at the CID Headquarters in the presence of a woman detective and a detective constable.
During the video, Greene – a father of two children – was asked to identify himself; he was then asked if he was assaulted while in police custody, if he was threatened, and if at any point his rights were violated. He responded in the negative to these questions. Additionally, he was asked if he was fed while in custody and he responded in the affirmative.
“Mr Greene, do you know why you are here?” the detective questioned.
“Yes, concerning the fire,” Greene responded.
Greene was then told of the allegation and cautioned; he was also told that he was not obliged to say anything and was informed that the interview was being filmed.
He was then asked if he can recall what transpired earlier in the day – from the time he was arrested to the time he arrived at CID Headquarters.
Greene explained that he was arrested after he was found with stolen items and that police conducted a search on him for prohibited items at the Brickdam Police Station but only found a lighter and some “fine, fine change.”
“When he [police officer] finish with me and take everything from me, I ask him back for my lighter cause one one time I does want smoke a cigarette, he tell me when he finish he will give me back my lighter,” Greene explained to the detective in the video recording.
According to Greene, after a while, he saw another police officer with a pack of cigarettes and asked him for one and then proceeded to ask again for his lighter.
Greene told the sleuths that after he was placed in the lockups, he started feeling frustrated because he thought he would be kept there for a long time given the fact that he was previously arrested and charged for robbery.
He detailed that he saw another prisoner walking outside and saw a piece of wire on the ground and asked the prisoner to pass him the wire. Greene, in the alleged confession, said he tore off a piece of the mattress and wrapped it with the wire and pushed it through the vents in the cell.
Greene, who was on the second floor of the building, lit the mattress. The News Room understands that the fire started in the Fraud Squad Department, a wooden building located within four inches of the lockups.
Greene said he went to sleep and was later awakened by another prisoner with fire around him.
“When I go back and sleep and I catch myself, when I look up is fire…the heat [was] penetrating coming in,” Greene explained.
In the meantime, the file pertaining to the investigations into the fire is expected to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice.
Up until Wednesday night, the police adviser was reviewing statements, sources told the News Room. An extension was also granted by the High Court to allow Greene to remain in police custody; the extension will expire Thursday afternoon.
Greene was arrested after 04:00hrs on October 02 following allegations that he robbed two vendors within the vicinity of the Central Fire Station in Georgetown. Sources close to the investigation told the News Room that Greene, along with an identifiable man armed with a handgun, robbed a female and male vendor.
The female was robbed of a smartphone valued at $130,000 while the male was robbed of a phone valued $5,000. Sources close to the investigation told the News Room that at the time of his arrest, Greene was found with both phones.
Reports indicate that the robbery occurred at about 03:30hrs; the female vendor went to buy plantains at the stall of the male vendor when Greene and the other suspect attacked them.
After robbing the vendors, Greene escaped in a southern direction and the victims raised an alarm; a security guard, who was nearby along with the female vendor, followed Greene.
It is alleged that the female saw Greene on Leopold Street and pointed him out to the security guard. The sources explained that the security guard searched Greene and found the phones in his possession; the police were then contacted and he was arrested. The News Room was reliably informed that the security guard was not armed.
However, Greene is maintaining that he did not commit the robbery but acknowledged that the stolen items were indeed found in his possession.
He is expected to appear at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court on Thursday to be charged with robbery.
Greene further explained that he previously ‘sold’ molly, commonly known as ecstasy, for a living, but he stopped this trade because he would also abuse the drug. He further told detectives that he smokes a lot of marijuana.