Wednesday 26 October 2016

Evil think, evil do

Evil is typically associated with conscious and deliberate wrongdoings against other beings. It is designed to harm other human beings such as the humiliation of their victims in which the purpose is designed to diminish the psychological needs and dignity of their victims. Evil acts also include acts of unnecessary and/or indiscriminate violence causing pain to the victims. Those persons who commit evil acts have no empathy for human beings which then invariably turns such evil persons into something less than human. They are in actual fact, amoral (no feelings for others) and thereby they are monsters in human form.

Fairy tales depicting evil people such as was written in the tale of Snow White for the most part begins with the words, Once upon a time. Alas, this story I am going to tell you begins with the opening words, Once upon a time but unlike the story of Snow White and its happy ending, the story I am going to give you has a very unhappy ending for two girls, their brother  and their mother. And now my dear readers—the story.

Once upon a time, in a place far away, a poverty-stricken mother, Opal Austin (who was 16 when she had her first child) dreamed of two of her seven children; Dwayne, 12, her crackerjack of a son intent on pop music stardom and Melonie, 13, her quiet daughter dreaming to be a nurse escaping the dirt floor, one-room hovel that had housed them since their births in a ghetto in Kingston Jamaica.

Since birthing her first of seven children at age 16, Opal had housed them all in a shack at first with a leaky roof, dirt floor, flapping tarp walls for fleeting privacy; then a concrete floor where the dirt was and eventually, indoor plumbing.

She held on to a sliver of hope that her two children were having  a future in the Promised Land (Canada) that would be brighter and more rewarding to them by having sacrificed herself when she sent them to live with their father who was living in Canada. The two children arrived on January 25, 1991.

She had tried her best. She did what refugee families are doing today. She’d tossed her children a lifeline however, their father and stepmother failed to haul them ashore. Almost 25 years later, her aspiration had turned to ashes—literally. All that remains of Opal’s dreams for Dwayne and Melonie are two urns filled with their ashes.

This is the story of how those two teenagers were tortured, abused, and murdered right under the noses of other tenants in a Toronto apartment in the Parkdale district of that large city.  More than one of the tenants were aware of obvious signs that something was very wrong inside their neighbour’s apartment and didn’t bother to report what they believed was going on in that deadly apartment.  There’s blood on their hands just as it is on the hands of the victim`s father, Everton Biddersingh, age 60 and their evil stepmother, Elaine Bidersingh age 55.

Everton Biddersingh fathered at least seven known children with four different women. I doubt that he is paying child support for most of them. This tells you something about his character.

Visitors at the Biddersingh apartment were at a minimum. Another of Everton’s children, Suan, age 15 was born to Yvonne Hamilton, the woman who sponsored Everton Biddersingh to Canada. Suan was nearly Melonie’s age and nagged her father (Everton) to let her visit the apartment. She couldn’t comprehend why contact with Melonie was suddenly cut off. Her father had skilfully put her off so she finally gave up trying to visit her half-sister.  

When Pedro (Clifton Allison), Biddersingh’s friend—the one outsider to visit occasionally—came over Everton hid Melonie in the closet to conceal her injuries. Pedro didn’t seem to notice anything unusual in the house of horrors.

In the Biddersingh apartment, itself, immediate family members were either willing accomplices or terrified abettors; scared conformists or incapable of confronting the evil unleashed on the two Jamaican kids.

According to court testimony of Melonie’s older half-brother, Cleon, she was often kicked, punched about her body, dragged by her hair and stomped upon. As punishment for failing to meet the exacting demands of her stepmother to care for her infant sister,  Melonie was deprived of food, locked in a closet for hours, placed in a barrel on the balcony in all weather, and forced to sleep on a piece of cardboard in the living room, and not on the sofa bed. Because she was considered by her stepmother to be dirty and devil-possessed, Melonie was told to shower on the balcony of the apartment in the summer. This would mean that neighbours would see her naked while she was showering in the rain.                                                    

As she weakened, crawled about and lost control of her bowels, the once lovely girl was forced to use pails on the balcony to relieve herself. Cleon, a year older, had to wash her down. To extract information, her father placed her head in the toilet and flushed it.

Finally, her system couldn’t take it any longer. While she was dying, her father inserted a piece of pepper inside her vagina. Her death brought immediate relief to her constant pain.

A later autopsy revealed 21 fractures, at different stages of healing, hinting at a timeline of over six months.

As Cleon (now 41) testified while dissolving into sobs of regret and self-blame in the witness box last November,  he said that he was no match for his father’s evil designs. “We were in fear. We did nothing. We were scared for our lives.”

He himself had been dehumanized, subjected to a DNA test to prove he was really his father’s child. He was turned into a drug runner for Everton’s crack dealing, beaten, abused and essentially he had been his father’s slave. His criminal father made it clear he’d send his goons to shoot up Cleon’s mom and his two siblings in Kingston, if he snitched or ran away. The father snarled, “They know how to squeeze a rat.”  

He didn’t know where to go, who to turn to, a safe number to call, without endangering his other family. So he tried to endure the nightmare. In court he sobbed,  “I know she understands . . . she is here right now, looking down on me,” Cleon testified, slowly losing it in the courtroom. “It was not me doing it, I was forced to,” he sobbed. “I feel guilty I could not help my sister . . . I couldn’t do anything. People judge me, ask why I couldn’t help my sister. I couldn’t help her . . . ”

Melonie, Dwayne and Cleon were not permitted to go to school. If they had gone to school, the horror in the Biddersingh apartment would have ended quite quickly.

The final cruel indignity was that the Biddersinghs not only gave her mother in Jamaica false hope that she was still alive. They also said that Melonie had run away and also accused the girl of stealing Elaine’s jewellery.

Melonie’s cause of death remained contentious during the trials. It has been suggested by pathologists that it’s likely she drowned, but it’s also possible she died from a combination of starvation and abuse.

Justice MacDonnell during Elaine Biddersingh’s trial for second degree murder found that Melonie drowned, and that it was Everton who drowned her, but said that the girl suffered such severe emotional and physical abuse that her eventual cause of death was beside the point.

This equally evil woman revealed to her pastor that Melonie had “died like a dog” after being confined and denied food and medication. Her statement wasn’t a confession in a confessional so the pastor was within his rights to notify the police as to what had happened to the unfortunate girl.

This evil woman was charged with second degree murder and convicted of that crime. Criminal negligence is a when a person who has authority over someone else and instead of protecting that person, stands by and does nothing to prevent her abuse which leads to a victim’s death. Since the girl was murdered by her husband and she did nothing to stop him from conducting the abuse on the girl what killed her, she was guilty of second degree murder. 

Superior Court Justice Ian MacDonnell accepted that Elaine was also a victim of Everton’s abuse from time to time, as argued by the defence, but he did not accept that she was under Everton’s control or that she was also a prisoner in the apartment.

He said in his ruling about the death of Melonie, “They crushed her hopes and dreams with a cruel, callous, relentless and ultimately lethal course of physical, psychological and emotional abuse. What happened to Melonie is inexpressibly sad.”

When it came to her sentencing, what a scene she made. She fell to her knees and wailed, “JESUS. JESUS.”

When her lawyer calmed her down, the judge sentenced her to life in prison in which she may apply for parole after serving 16 years in prison.  Her life in prison will not be a happy one since prison inmates don’t like child killers.

Her husband was sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison. He will be placed in a cell by himself in the protective range of te prison so that the inmates won’t tear him apart. if he is released after serving his sentence in prison minus  the years he was in custody waiting for his trial, he will be an old man, homeless, with no money and no family or friends to greet him.  

Elaine and Everton Biddersingh both face an ongoing charge of obstruction of justice, the Crown told the court.

That charge is linked to the Biddersinghs’ alleged actions during the police investigation into the 1992 death of 13-year-old Dwayne Biddersingh, Melonie’s younger brother. Cleon testified that Everton forced him and Melonie lie to the police, saying that Dwayne was responsible for Melonie’s injuries.

Dwayne’s death was ruled a suicide at the time, and police did not open a child-abuse investigation.

The case has taken two decades to get to trial because police weren't able to identify Melonie's remains for years until they received a tip from the pastor that eventually led to the arrest of Biddersingh and his wife in March 2012.

 Melonie’s charred body was found in a burning suitcase in 1994, 21 years ago. Her evil stepmother identified her. That may have later had an effect on the sentence she received.

Alas, this sad story didn’t have a happy ending like that in the fairy tale of Snow White. However, the sentences of those two evil monsters does bring a smile to everyone’s else’s faces.

It is indeed unfortunate that their neighbours couldn’t also be punished. There was no prying superintendent. Neighbours didn’t report her screams; neither did they recognize the girl’s whimpering as her father cowed her into submission — lest she get another cuff or kick for daring to cry so loud that someone might overhear. They simply ignored what they heard.

This isn’t the first time neighbours have heard the cries and screams of victims being abused and killed.

In the early morning of March 13, 1964, at approximately 2:30 a.m Kitty Genovese was attacked at the front of her apartment building she lived in by a man who later said he simply wanted to kill a woman. She screamed, "Oh my God, he stabbed me! Help me!" Several neighbors heard her cry but, on a cold night with the windows closed, only a few of them recognized the sound as a cry for help. Not one of them called the police. The woman subsequently died before someone found her lying on the sidewalk.

In July 2012, in Montreal, Catherine De Boucherville screamed off and on for over 30 minutes while she was being stabbed while in her bathtub yet none of her neighbours bothered to call police. Her husband was subsequently charged with her murder.

I hope that neighbours in our society react when they hear the screams of persons being killed. To do nothing is a sign that they are just as evil as those that are harming their neighbors. 

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