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Peter Vogel murder trial | Widow says accused helper was about to be fired

Published:Monday | June 12, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

The tearful widow of former University of the West Indies lecturer, Dr Peter Vogel, testified yesterday that two days before his death, she told the family housekeeper accused of killing him that she was going to be fired.

Parlan Vogel was giving evidence in the murder trial of the former helper, Yanika Scott, and her boyfriend, Kelvin Downer, which began in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston, almost 10 years after the former lecturer's death.

Dr Vogel's oldest daughter, Maia, who was the first witness, recounted that she and her brother Daniel found their father's body on the floor of the study room inside the family's home in Mona Commons, St Andrew, on July 18, 2007.

"He was [lying] face down with his hands and feet tied and a blue cloth over his face," said Maia, who was 10 years old at the time.




Parlan struggled to maintain her composure as she told the seven-member jury that two days earlier, while in the Cayman Islands where she worked, she got a telephone call from her helper.

"She was complaining that the kids were not listening to her when my husband was around and [questioning] how dare I not tell her that my kids would be visiting me in the Cayman Islands," she recounted. "She was very bitter. She had a bitter tone. She was very angry."

Parlan, who now resides in the United States, testified that she did not like the way Scott spoke to her and said it was at this point the decision was taken to terminate her services.

"I said to her, things are not working out between us, so it's best we part ways. I told her I would be coming home next week and she no longer had a job, and she hung up the phone on me," she testified.

Parlan wiped the tears from her cheeks as she recounted getting a telephone call from the Cayman police two days later. As a result of the call, she said she telephoned a senior police officer in Jamaica and was informed that her husband of three years was dead.

She said when she got back to Jamaica and went to the family home in Mona Commons, household appliances valued at approximately $500,000 were missing and there was no sign of her helper or her personal belongings kept in the room she occupied.

Parlan said she and her late husband had hired Scott hours after Downer, who was her son's barber, recommended her.

The trial continues today.