As the Commission of Inquiry continues to probe the March 3, 2016 riot at the Camp Street Prison, Georgetown which left 17 prisoners dead and several others injured, one inmate in his testimony on Tuesday said that one of those killed when fire engulfed the Capital A block of the penitentiary was found headless.
Steve Bacchus testifying before the Commission (Photo courtesy Newssource)
The inmate, Steve Bacchus, made the shocking revelation under cross-examination by Attorney-at-Law Selwyn Pieters, who is representing the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Prison Service.
Bacchus, who is serving a jail sentence for armed robbery, told Commissioners that he helped remove the severely burnt bodies of his fellow inmates and handed them over to prison authorities.
He was asked by Pieters whether one of the bodies he found after the blaze was headless and responded in the affirmative.
However, he was not able to say whether the inmate had his head severed during, after or before the blaze. Pieters suggested that the man may have died even before the blaze, but Bacchus hesitantly denied this.
The inmate who was found headless was not identified by the lawyer or Bacchus; the latter stated that the “skull” was found on a bed.
He said he did not see any marks of violence on any other inmate.
Bacchus earlier told Commissioners that Police and prison wardens made attempts to open doors to Capital A, but for some reason, those attempts were initially unsuccessful.
“I remember seeing an officer run up the stairs and push a key in the door and he pull back he hand…I don’t know if it’s due to the heat … I also recall seeing Mr Cozier trying with a hacksaw, but that didn’t really do anything so he went downstairs back. He said the blade was dull or something,” Bacchus told the CoI.
The prisoner, who was housed in a different section of the penitentiary, said he was forced to break out of his cell to render assistance to his fellow inmates who were trapped in the burning building and pleading for help.
“After the officers them come downstairs I saw dark smoke coming out the building and I heard prisoners saying y’all open the door, open the door, help we help we,” said Bacchus.
The riot started after the Joint Services conducted a routine monthly check of the cells which unearthed a large quantity of marijuana and cellular phones among other illegal items.
Inmates subsequently began setting fires over the course of three days.