The sacrificial murders

Sunday, July 5, 2009 | By KNews

By Michael Jordan

Who would strangle a five-year-old girl after having a dream about ‘Dutch gold’ buried in their backyard?
Or stab a nine-year-old boy to death and dump his corpse in a latrine?
And who would squeeze the life out of a new-born baby on the orders of a so-called ‘spiritualist’ in the hope of getting a visa to the United States?
The answer: people right here in good old Guyana. People who believe that sacrificing a child to various spirits will bring them wealth, or good fortune, or cure an incurable illness.
We friendly, hospitable Guyanese may not like to admit it, but cases like these have been with us for as long as we have had a police force.
Perhaps the most infamous case occurred in the fifties, It has become known as the Lilawattie murder.
It happened in the quiet little community of Stanleytown, New Amsterdam.
It all started when a woman, Kathleen Fullerton, dreamed that a demon-like man told her that there was Dutch gold buried in her backyard.
The man in the dream told Fullerton that she could get her hands on the gold if she sacrificed a child.
The dream had come at a time when Fullerton and her husband, Edward, were going through very hard times.
She consulted her brother, Eric Benfield, who also lived in Stanleytown with his reputed wife, Dorothy Brutus.
Eric, known as ‘Shave Ice man’, had a deep interest in the occult and often held ‘spiritual’ sessions in his apartment.
He immediately hatched a diabolical plan.
Eric and his spouse lived in a back apartment in the same building with their landlady, who had a five-year-old daughter named Lilawattie.
He decided that his landlady’s little daughter, Lilawattie, would be the perfect sacrifice.
With the help of his sister, Kathleen and her husband Edward, Eric killed the child and hid her in his apartment.
However, the landlady soon realised that her daughter was missing and a search was launched for the missing child.
One woman, who remembered the case, said that the culprits hid the dead child under their mattress when the child’s mother came to their apartment to see if Lilawattie was here.
When they thought that the coast was clear, they dumped the body in a nearby latrine.
However, suspicion fell on them and police eventually searched the larine and recovered the body.
For that crime, Eric Benfield, Edward Fullerton and his wife, Kathleen, were all hanged.
But strange as it may seem, in these enlightened times of computers and the internet, there are still some people who practice ritual murder for gain.

Murder & Mystery

One such man was Michael De Noon.
In 1993, according to police, Michael de Noon, a young father, somehow got it into his head that he could acquire a US visa if he sacrificed his new-born baby daughter, Mary, to the ‘spirits’.
Reportedly acting on the advice of a female ‘spiritualist’, De Noon forced his wife to take their baby in the dead of night to a desolate spot at the Lamaha Canal.
He then muttered an incantation, threw some money in the still black water, and then strangled his baby daughter.
De Noon then dumped the corpse into the water.
He then forced his wife to accompany him to a city hotel.
But while he slept, the woman sneaked out of the hotel and went to the police.
She then took detectives to the spot where Michael De Noon had disposed of his daughter’s body.
De Noon was arrested and charged.
However, the cold-blooded killer died in the Georgetown Prison a few years ago without facing a high court trial.
Believe it or not, the most recent child sacrifice occurred about six years ago.
This time the victim was nine-year-old Daniel Netram.
Daniel, nicknamed ‘Jackie Chan’, disappeared from his home at Brickery, East Bank Demerara on September 21, 2003.
According to police reports, Daniel was last seen alive at around 18:00 hrs, when he and a brother went to fetch water a short distance from their home.
But instead of returning home, Daniel reportedly told his brother that he was going to visit a man known to the family, who lived in Brickery.
The lad’s mutilated body was found four days later in a latrine aback of an abandoned property.
The corpse bore three stab wounds to the chest and one behind the neck. His left arm was severed at the wrist and his head was shaven.
Detectives believe that the boy was murdered by an East Bank, Demerara, couple on the orders of an ‘obeah man’, who said that offering the lad as a sacrifice would rid them of an incurable disease.
Police reportedly acquired a statement from a woman who claimed that she witnessed her husband and another man killing the nine-year-old and dumping him in a pit latrine at Brickery, East Bank, Demerara.
Indications were that the prime suspect made unsuccessful attempts on an older boy in the community.
However, that child had reportedly managed to escape.
Detectives believed that Daniel unwittingly sealed his fate when he went to visit the home of one of the suspects after he was sent to fetch water.
The suspect’s wife reportedly said she saw when the lad was killed, mutilated and placed in a bag.
Acting on this information, detectives arrested a woman, her husband and a so-called ‘spiritual healer’ from Greater Georgetown.
Two people were charged with Daniel’s murder, but the case against them was dismissed.
Will there be other sacrificial murders in Guyana?
Only time will tell.