Night-time guesthouse assault

Your questions on medical and security issues
Post Reply
Jo F
Newbie Visitor
Newbie Visitor
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:10 pm
Location: Devon
Contact:
Great Britain

Night-time guesthouse assault

Post by Jo F » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:13 pm

My husband and I have just returned from a holiday in Tobago. We have visited many times over the last 30 years, and always stay in Black Rock in a guesthouse right beside Grafton Beach. It is an old-fashioned property with glass-louvre windows, and in need of modernisation, but the location is superb.
Three weeks ago I awoke at 5am to go to the toilet, put my feet down on the floor to stand up, but put them on the back of a man who was hiding on the floor beside my bed! He had taken 4 of the glass-louvres out, and entered the guesthouse intent on stealing. But I had disturbed him. He suddenly got up and attacked me with his hands around my throat and with a knife in one hand. I pushed his hands away and just kept on screaming as loud as I could - my husband was asleep in the other room. The man then suddenly left and disappeared back out through the window. It is most likely that he had come up from the beach. Fortunately nothing was stolen and he had only cut my lip with his knife.
We phoned the owner who arrived after 30 minutes and he phoned the police who arrived 1 hour later. They seemed rather disinterested, wandered about the house a bit, and asked a few questions so they could fill out a form. They got in their car to drive away then called me over and said I should go to the hospital to get the injury checked and gave me another form for the hospital to keep. They drove off, but phoned about 20 minutes later because they had forgotten to ask for my home address! They did not offer their names or give any reference number.
Several hours later some forensic people arrived - 2 women in high heels, beautiful hairdos and pretty makeup. One of them dusted the glass louvres and plastic chair that had been used to get in and out of the window - there were plenty of fingerprints visible by eye on both. But the forensics said 'no, there are no fingerprints', smiled and went to walk away. I asked them why they could not find any, and they had no answer.
An hour or so later 2 detectives arrived, wandered about and asked a few questions. I asked them for a report number, which they said they didn't have, but said they would find out for me. They arrived with it the next day.
There was such apathy and lethargy from the police - it really seemed as though they could not be bothered. Perhaps this was because nothing had been stolen and I had not been seriously injured. Criminals know the police do not enforce their presence so there is no deterrent.
However, the next day I heard from local people that there is a small young man who uses a little knife, and who is known to break in and steal from villas along Grafton Beach. He had been imprisoned, but had recently come out so the police would be sure to know about him.
This assault happened just before Carnival time when such incidents are commonplace. There is also a growing serious drug problem in Tobago which leads to this sort of crime.
So I would advise visitors to make sure they stay in a house with strong grilles over all windows and doors, and avoid a property with old-fashioned glass louvres. We will be going back as we love Tobago, but only if the owner has fitted burglar proof grilles as he should have done many years ago.

User avatar
Paul Tallet
Weather Guru
Posts: 3471
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 3:43 am
Location: Yorkshire
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Night-time guesthouse assault

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:02 pm

Sorry to see this Jo ... must have been very scary.

I said in another post about 48 hours ago that I wondered how many incidents go unreported, both to the police and the media and there have been 2 new incidents posted since (although one of them was about a dodgy dealer at Pigeon Point).

It does not seem nice for this forum to receive such negative feedback from victims of these attacks because this forum is intended to be a positive and informative place for people to share their knowledge and experiences.

However, if the Police don't help and the media is restrained I guess we have no option other than to flag such incidents on forums such as this and Trip Adviser.

If these sites are the only medium through which people can share information about these attacks then it could be good if a full dossier of the reports are presented to the Tobago authorities to embarrass them into taking action to save their struggling tourist industry and work harder to protect us ... fat chance but you never get anywhere without asking.

Regards
Paul Tallet
Public Relations Consultant for Mother Nature

Jo F
Newbie Visitor
Newbie Visitor
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:10 pm
Location: Devon
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Night-time guesthouse assault

Post by Jo F » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:09 pm

Yesterday I sent a similar account to the Police, Tobago House of Assembly, Scarborough Hospital and the newspaper Tobago News....so let's see what response there is.
Tobago is a beautiful island with many friendly people which is why we keep on going back - and we will. Just a shame the authorities seem so lack-lustre about welcoming and taking care of their visitors!!!

User avatar
Glyn Kirpalani
Tobago Fanatic
Tobago Fanatic
Posts: 333
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2003 1:27 pm
Location: Norfolk, UK
Great Britain

Re: Night-time guesthouse assault

Post by Glyn Kirpalani » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:34 pm

Jo this is an awful thing to happen to you and I am just pleased that your injuries were not more serious. The police are truly terrible at any regular police work especially any forensic stuff like fingerprints (or anything which might involve effort). Several years back our guest aparment suffered a disturbing incident and there were also clearly visible whole-handprints (with fingertips clear) on a patio window the thieves had slid open by force. After 2 days of me calling the police to get prints dusted, eventually "Detective" Earl Arthur rolled up and dusted the window, and told us he could not see anything. When I pointed to the hand prints, clear as day, he said he could not use them because, wait for it, "the hands were upside down". What can you say to that?

Re your letter campaign - you are quite justified to complain to the authorities, but to be fair to them, the accepted tourist-safety advice is to only ever stay in a property with full security grilles on all windows as well as 24 hour security guards in place, so in theory you put yourself at risk - this is not meaning to criticise you, because you had been staying there safely for many years, I am just mentioning it for the benefit of others - I urge folks to follow your own, and the local, tourism safety advice, regardless of the property you are visiting - do not make yourself a victim (and I consider Dogs to be the best guards of all).

Post Reply

Return to “Health & Security”