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Peter Vogel Trial | 'I did not kill Dr Vogel'

Published:Monday | June 26, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Dr Peter Vogel

Closing arguments are set for today in the trial of the former household helper who, along with her boyfriend, is accused of killing university lecturer Dr Peter Vogel.

The way was cleared yesterday after defence attorneys closed their case.

Yanika Scott, Dr Vogel's former live-in helper, and her boyfriend, Kelvin Downer, are on trial in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston for killing the former lecturer at his home in College Common, St Andrew, on July 18, 2007.

Dr Vogel was found with his hands tied behind his back, his feet bound at the ankles, and a cloth tied around his mouth. Forensic pathologist Dr S.N. Prasad Kadiyala has testified that Vogel was strangled.

Yesterday, the former helper, in her first public comments since she was arrested, expressed regret that she did not go to the police, but insisted that she had no involvement in the death of her boss.

"I regret that I was not strong enough to go to the police," she told the seven-member jury that will decide her fate.

Scott, who was giving unsworn statement, acknowledged that she and Downer were at the house. However, she testified that some men entered the room and ordered her not to move. "I was frightened," she recounted.

The former helper said the men ordered Downer and her from the room through a rear exit. "Kelvin drove and we left the property," she testified.

According to Scott, she and her boyfriend "came out of the van on Beechwood Avenue and we walked home".

"I walked home in fear and confusion," she revealed, insisting that the last time she saw Vogel, he was alive.

Scott said she learnt the following day that Vogel was dead and "became even more afraid". As a result, she said she packed her personal belongings and took her daughter to live in Montego Bay.

She was afraid so she changed her name

The 26-year-old former helper of Dr Peter Vogel, Yanika Scott, said she apparently dropped her cell phone in the car on the night that she and her boyfriend were led out of Vogel's home by gunmen, and as a consequence, she became fearful that they could use it to find her.

"So I changed my name to Kamesha Lecky and sent my daughter to her grandmother," she testified.

Downer, in his unsworn statement, said he knew he made a mistake when he did not report what happened at the former lecturer's home to the police immediately.

"But I was young, afraid and scared at the time," he recounted.

"When I found out I was a suspect for the murder of Dr Peter Vogel, I totally panicked. I didn't trust the police at the time and eventually when I trusted the police, I was charged for the murder," added Downer.

"God knows I did not kill Mr Peter Vogel," he insisted.