Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 9th 2016 Contents news A5
Friday, December 9, 2016 guardian.co.tt
Mom slain a day
before court case
RADHICA DE SILVA
Joan Cheryl Cooper re-
ceived death threats over a
year ago, following an ongo-
ing land dispute. When she
was finally gunned down in
Marabella yesterday, her rel-
atives still could not believe
the threat had materialised.
"How could this happen?
I thought it would end with
a cuss out but look! She dead
now," Cooper's brother, Derrick
Aberdeen, wept as he gazed at
Cooper's body in the front seat
of a white Nissan Sentra at Gre-
nada Terrace, Harmony Hall,
The killing occurred around
6.30 am, a day before Cooper, 53,
was expected to appear in the San
Fernando High Court to testify in
the land dispute case. Cooper's
boyfriend Carl Edmund, who
worked as a landscaper, was also
shot in the left side of the chest
and was listed in stable condi-
tion at the San Fernando General
Hospital last night.
Police said Cooper and Ed-
mund had just come out their
driveway when a man dressed
in white walked up to their car
and fired. The shooter then ran
to a nearby street, jumped in a
waiting car and drove off. The
man was seen fidgeting with an
item in his car before ambushing
the couple. Cooper was shot in
the abdomen and died within
Aberdeen said he last spoke
to Cooper about a month ago.
He said she had lodged a report
at the Marabella Police Station
after the threats were made and
police investigated it and later
charged the offender.
Describing Cooper as a
kind-hearted and loving moth-
er, Aberdeen said she lived for
sometime at Bayshore, Marabel-
la, but moved out about five years
ago to live with Edmund. Aber-
deen said Cooper worked with
CEPEP and was devoted to her
five children---Simon, Sheldon,
Natty, Shivaughn and Kesha.
"We grew up with love. We had
different fathers but all we ever
knew was love," Aberdeen said.
He explained that it was this
kind-heartedness that led to the
land dispute. He said sometime
ago a relative's home was burnt
down and arson was suspected
but no one was ever arrested.
Police said yesterday that they
were looking for CCTV footage to
help them locate the killer. Sev-
eral of Cooper's family, including
her daughter Shivaughn Moffat,
said she planned to go to court
as usual today.
"The lawyer has to know what
happened. My mother did not
deserve this. She was a good
woman," Moffat wept.
"I was not expecting her life
to be in danger. I was expecting
something, but not this."
An autopsy is scheduled to
be done on Cooper's body to-
day. Anyone with information on
her killing can contact CrimeS-
toppers at 800-TIPS or call the
San Fernando Homicide Bureau.
Land dispute turns tragic
he caused T&T
An Italian national living in Alyce Glen,
Diego Martin, who is alleged to have intro-
duced the Giant African Snail into T&T years
ago, yesterday denied these claims.
Instead, the man claimed he was a victim of
the invasion just like everyone else in the West
Trinidad but was an unfortunate victim of his
neighbours' "malice and spite."
Speaking to the T&T Guardian on Wednesday,
director in the Research Division of the Ministry
of Agriculture, Deo Nandlal, said it was suspect-
ed the snails had been brought into the country
eight years ago by a foreigner. It was first detected
in Alyce Glen before spreading to Carenage and
On condition his name not be used, however,
the businessman yesterday confirmed he was
visited by officials of the Ministry of Agriculture
in 2008, who questioned him and also collected
samples of the snails which had been found in
his garden at the time.
But he denied he was responsible for the snail's
presence in T&T, saying he had been married and
resident in the country since 1970. He said he
observed the snails in his garden but was unaware
they were notifiable pests at the time.
However, he said his neighbours, who he ad-
mitted he had some troubles with, may have given
the ministry officials a different story and they
visited his home.
After realising that he too had an infestation,
he said the ministry officials told him the snails
could have entered the country via fruits and
vegetables being imported from the region, treat-
ed the problem and left. That was the last time
he had seen officials from the ministry, he said.
He stressed that he has always complied with
regulations governing local trade.
Meanwhile, the task force set up by ministry to
deal with the problem, is scheduled to meet today
to discuss new strategies to combat the current
invasion of snails sweeping through agricultural
lands in Orange Grove and Macoya.
Laid-off OAS worker killed driving PH
RADHICA DE SILVA
When OAS worker Norris
Mendoza got laid off last year,
he started working PH to get
money to support his family
and to send his eldest daugh-
ter, Elise, to university.
But Mendoza's dreams of
seeing his daughter graduate
were brought to an abrupt end
on Wednesday night, when
two men posing as passengers
hijacked, robbed, stabbed and
shot him dead.
Police believe Mendoza, 44,
picked up two men at High
Street, Princes Town, but it is
uncertain what happened along
Around 10.30 pm, officers
were on patrol when they saw
Mendoza's Wingroad parked off
a deserted road off Fifth Com-
pany, Second Branch Trace, In-
dian Walk, Moruga. The car's
headlights were on and a door
was open. As the officers ap-
proached, two men jumped out
the car and ran, police said.
Further checks revealed blood
in the back seat and when the
officers followed the bloody
trail downhill, they found
Mendoza's body down a prec-
ipice. His hands were tied and
he had several stab wounds in
A photograph of a bloodied
body with handcuffs was being
circulated on social media yes-
terday, but senior officers de-
nied Mendoza was handcuffed
when he was found dead.
At the family's Poui Trace,
Moruga home, Mendoza's aunt
Margaret London said the en-
tire community was saddened
by his untimely death. She said
Mendoza got laid off last year
after the $7.4 billion Solomon
Hochoy Highway extension
project was shut down.
"Since then he trying to make
ends meet. He used to do a lit-
tle construction and he used
to cut people yard with the
weedwacker. He loved his wife
and his daughters. He was a
kind-hearted family man," Lon-
don said, adding Mendoza was
looking forward to celebrating
Mendoza's wife, Kristy, said
they were supposed to start
Christmas cleaning yesterday.
The family had already put up
a Christmas tree and Mendoza
hoped his family could enjoy
a special Christmas with the
extra money he earned.
Kristy said Mendoza never
worked the graveyard shift.
"He was careful not to work
late. I went to church and he was
supposed to pick me up at 9.30
pm. When he did not come I got
worried," Kristy said.
She said sometime later she
got a call that Mendoza was
found dead. She said Mendoza
never received his outstanding
wages or his severance pay-
ments from OAS.
"Now he is gone and we have
to find a way to cope with this,"
Police said they have not yet
arrested anyone in connection
with Mendoza's death. Anyone
with information can contact
CrimeStoppers at 800-TIPS.
CSI officers at the scene where Joan Cooper (inset) was killed and her boyfriend Carl Edmund was
wounded at Grenada Terrace, Marabella. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DESILVA
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