Defence argues former top cop ordered release of ‘vampire killer’

Photo by Roxanne Reid for Observer media
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By Latrishka Thomas

Former Commissioner of Police Wendel Robinson was the final witness to take the stand in the trial of multi-murder accused Delano Forbes, also referred to as the ‘vampire killer’.

Forbes is accused of escaping police custody in February 2018 after being charged with murder.

The 25-year-old’s trial began two weeks ago before Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel-Edwards in the All Saints Magistrate’s Court, where the defendant stated that he was handed the keys to his footcuffs and told that he was being released on orders from the commissioner.

Yesterday, defence attorney Sherfield Bowen’s line of questioning suggested that Robinson, as commissioner, ordered Forbes’ release due to his close affiliation with the accused’s grandmother.

Robinson, a Vincentian national, was questioned by Bowen as to whether he knew a woman from Potters Village, but he said he did not recall the name.

However, he admitted to knowing a similar name for someone affiliated with two other individuals who used to provide meals to him and others.

Police prosecutor Dane Bontiff objected to the questions since the relevance was unclear.

Bowen then put it to Robinson that the woman is Forbes’ grandmother who provided food for him when he first moved to Antigua.

He suggested that Robinson and the family of the accused all have Vincentian roots.

The lawyer also questioned the former officer’s effort to recover the key that may have been used to unshackle Forbes’ feet.

“I ensured that there was an investigation to ensure that no officer was involved negligently or criminally,” he said while admitting that the keys were never recovered.

Robinson also stated that “the question of the key may have been incidental to the overall investigation”.

But Bowen asserted that “the possession of the key by the defendant is integral to the investigation”.

The former top cop added that the investigation was left in the hands of then Acting Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney since he was at a managerial meeting in Barbados at the time.

The lawyer then asked if keys to footcuffs are available to the public, and Robinson answered, saying “you can’t buy them at Shoul’s but you can get them online”.

Moreover, Robinson admitted that he never saw the final case file but reviewed the interim report that was submitted at the time.

His role in the investigation was then questioned and he admitted to participating in interviews upon being invited by Corporal Greg Grell and another officer on the request of the accused.

He was asked whether he or any other commissioner, to his knowledge, usually participated in interviews.

“I can’t recall,” he responded.

Bowen put to him that he participated in the interview because of his personal connection to the matter.

“Is it because of the connection to the illuminati and the lodge?” the lawyer then asked.

”Yes,” Robinson admitted.

The follow-up question was “do you know the defendant’s grandfather was a member of the lodge?”

Robinson responded that he does not know the defendant’s grandfather but he does know his father.

The defence counsel also argued that Robinson was close friends with Corporal Grell and therefore asked him to release the defendant.

Furthermore, Robinson, who had been an officer for over 30 years, agreed with the defence that if the accused was given the key, he could not be guilty of escaping.

Robinson also stated, when asked, that usually a prisoner in foot chains should not be able to outrun the police.

In the beginning of the trial, the court heard a testimony from Corporal Grell, who had custody of Forbes when he allegedly jumped off a cliff and disappeared.

According to Grell, the escarpment was too high for him to jump and give chase to the accused.

Forbes, who had been charged with the 2017 murders of Wilfred ‘Bongo’ Williams, Shawn Henry and Lisue ‘Dirty’ Williams, was on the run for almost a month.

He was recaptured in a pump house at Follies on the night of March 9 2018.

He was subsequently charged with the murder of 62-year-old Matthew’s Village resident, Maurison Thomas.

The murder matters have been committed to the High Court.

The magistrate will return a verdict in the matter of escaping lawful custody on September 30.

The prosecution and defence are expected to make written submissions on the matter prior to the hearing.

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