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Dead boy’s family in funeral dispute

Thursday, February 15, 2018
Ishmael Phillip

The mother and stepmother of an eight-year-old boy, who was allegedly beaten to death by his father last week, were yesterday at odds as to who should arrange his funeral.

The dispute arose as the women and their relatives met at the at the Forensic Science Centre in St James where an autopsy was done on the body of Ishmael Phillip.

As Phillip’s father is still in police custody, his biological mother, who lost custody of him and his 12-year-old sister almost seven years ago, was allowed to identify his body and claim it after the post-mortem.

His stepmother Michelle claimed she was being treated unfairly since she helped raise the child and his sister since they were toddlers.

“They want to bury him now and I am the one who went through real things with them children,” she said, as she was being consoled by her relatives.

“People saying all kinds of thing about me but I never hurt them children. God knows.”

After an exchange between the two groups, Phillip’s maternal grandmother intervened and bartered a deal for the stepmother to view the body and to participate in the funeral.

“I haven’t seen the boy for years. It is really she (Michelle) that he grow up with, so is only right that we come together now,” the grandmother said.

Michelle’s sister also said that the two families would come to a compromise for his funeral.

“He was a loving child, so we have to send him off right. Whatever happens after, happen,” she said.

Phillip’s maternal relatives said the child died from blunt force trauma injuries to his head and other parts of his body. They also claimed that it showed that he had suffered repeated abuse in the past.

While they said they did not blame Michelle for his death, they questioned why the abuse was not reported.

“We spoke to the neighbours. Imagine the children crying every day and she living there and didn’t say anything. I don’t believe that,” one relative said.

According to reports, around 1 pm last Friday, Phillip was taken to hospital by a police officer who responded to reports of screams coming from his home at Greenvale Park, La Horquetta, Arima.

He died later that afternoon while receiving treatment at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.

His father, who uses a wheelchair after being shot several years ago, was arrested and the victim’s sister was placed in the care of relatives.

The father initially told police that he was a former member of the T&T Defence Force, but his claims were later refuted. Homicide detectives are expected to approach the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) later this week for advice on if there was sufficient evidence to file any charges.


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