Youth pleads not guilty to brutal murder of Berbice couple

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A 24-year-old man on Monday pleaded not guilty to the 2016 brutal murder of businessman Arthur Rajkumar, 81, and his reputed wife Diane Chamanlall, 44, who were killed during a robbery at their Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice home.

Nazameed Rafeek of Bush Lot appeared before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the Berbice High Court where a jury was empanelled to hear his case.

Rafeek pleaded not guilty to the charge which alleged that between January 8 and 9, 2016, he murdered the couple by chopping them to death.

Reports at the time indicated that the couple was at home when bandits broke into the house through a grill door; they ransacked the house and packed foodstuff and cigarettes whilst searching for money.

Initially, the bandits did not see anyone and had descended into an adjoining shop where they retrieved and drank some alcoholic beverages.

Shortly afterwards, the couple exited their bedroom and confronted the bandits. They were chopped after demands for gold and money were not met. During the act, the police were alerted but the bandits escaped.

The State is being represented by prosecutor Abigail Gibbs while Rafeek is represented by attorney-at-law Mursaline Bacchus.

Last year, two men, Rooplall Abrahim and Madanpaul Gocoul both pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter in relation to this case.  Abrahim was sentenced to life imprisonment while Gocoul was handed a 25-year sentence.

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