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Mom’s killing sparks action

Victim unit starts training drive
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Crime Watch
Three-year-old Christiano Harickdeo is hugged by his grandmother Sally Roopan during the funeral service of his mother, Stacy Roopan, inset, at a relative’s home at Sesame Street, Presyal, on Thursday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL

She was to have been a state witness in a case against a suspended police officer, but days before she was to give evidence 25-year-old Stacy Roopan was shot and killed close to her Isaiah Street, Balmain, Couva home. The pre-school which her son Christiano attends was also mere metres away from where she was attacked. 



Three-year-old Christiano was also well aware of what had happened to his mother, telling Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne, “Meh mother dead.” He pointed to the spot where the crime took place, saying: “Right there near the preschool.” Another child left to grow up without a mother. But why? And if Stacy Roopan was a state witness, why was she not offered protection under the Witness Protection Programme? She became the second state witness in less than a month to be murdered. 


Manager of the Victim and Witness Support Unit Margaret Sampson-Browne says: “The public should not lose hope in the unit.” She says the unit did offer protection for state witnesses but sometimes witnesses opted to leave. She told Crime Watch: “A sensitisation drive has begun in the Police Service where police officers are being trained to handle specific cases dealing with women in witness protection.”  


Roopan’s father, Anil, claimed her car was broken into in December and some of her personal items were stolen. He said a note with a death threat was left in the car. So why didn’t she make a report to the police? Acting Senior Supt in charge of crime in the Central Division, Johnny Abraham, confirmed no report was made about any threat. 



Abraham told us that after Roopan’s death, when her father was going through her things, he found a note which he took to the police. The note read: “I am sorry for what I do. But I was drunk at the time.” And while Abraham and his team investigate the murder, Crime Watch host Alleyne is also investigating. So far, he says his investigation has led him to believe that there is more to Roopan’s story. 



Roopan’s husband Peter, who was released from prison in December after serving four months on a robbery charge, told Alleyne Roopan was a good wife and mother. He gave Alleyne a walk through their home, showing him evidence of the care she gave to her family. He admitted that Roopan was frustrated being at home because “girls need to go out.” 


But he said she ensured that their son Christiano had sandwiches to eat at school and a hot meal when he came home. The day she was killed, she cooked shrimp and potato. The pot with some of the meal was still covered on the stove when Alleyne visited the scene on Tuesday. Peter has no idea why someone would want to kill his wife. “They shot her seven times,” he said, leaving her son motherless.


 An autopsy confirmed Stacy Roopan was shot seven times, including once in the head. Whoever committed the crime, he said, definitely wanted her dead. All Peter wants is answers and his wife’s killer brought to justice. Alleyne has vowed to “go after the killer” because, he says, whatever her story was, Stacy did not deserve to die the way she did.” Alleyne says he is “on the verge of making a breakthrough” and has information. 


“It’s like, wow! People are talking.” Police are yet to make any arrests in the murder.


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