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Friday, August 14, 2020

Trinidad: Man found dead in police station cell

(Trinidad Guardian) Relatives of Gary Layne, who was found dead in the holding cell of the Arouca Police Station on Sunday afternoon, are calling for a full probe into what happened, as they claim he would never do harm to himself as he had his five-year-old daughter “to live for.”

According to a police report, Layne, 30, of Mausica, was placed in a cell in the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region II area of the station. He was waiting to be interviewed by investigators over a conspiracy to murder and gang-related offences.

However, officers who were checking on prisoners later found Layne unresponsive in the cell. He was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope but was declared dead.

Crime scene investigators went to the station and examined the cell. Investigators later concluded that Layne died by suicide.

However, a close relative who wished not to be named told Guardian Media yesterday that based on preliminary information they received from officers who worked that day, they do not believe it was a suicide.

Initially, the relative said they were told Layne hung himself with a pair of three-quarter jeans. However, the relative said they did not take a three-quarter jeans to him as a change of clothes.

“He was sent a pair of boxers and a short pants…no three-quarter pants and when we told the police that, suddenly we were told that it was a long pants he used to hang himself but Gary was never one to hurt himself. He loved his child and worked hard for her and would have never wanted to leave her in the world without a father.”

Relatives also said they fear a cover-up as the body was not taken to the Forensic Science Centre in St James for an autopsy up to yesterday. They are hoping it will be taken there today so the autopsy can be done and they can get “a little closure as to how he died.”

The relative said Layne was arrested along with another man for possession of a firearm that was suspected to have been loaded with bullets belonging to the T&T Police Service. The relative disclosed with the court date close by, Layne’s co-accused was killed during a police-involved shooting in Maracas/St Joseph less than a month ago.

“We heard that he gave a statement and he was killed after that but Gary did not know him. Apparently, the man hired him to go somewhere and unknowing to Gary he placed the gun under the driver’s seat and in a roadblock, police searched them and found the gun and arrested both of them and ever since the first court appearance he had to go every day by the Arima Police Station to sign and when he went over the weekend they detained him saying for questioning. That’s what he told his father,” the relative said.

“We need closure and we want this thoroughly investigated so that we can get the justice that Gary and we, the family, deserve.”

Contacted for comment yesterday, a senior officer at the Northern Division said the matter was currently being investigated.

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