Police need help to find killer

| 13/10/2008

(CNS): Police are appealing to the community to come forward with any information they may have regarding what is now considered to be the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts. Chief Inspector Peter Kennett, the Senior Investigating Officer said the body found in a burnt out car just east of Shorewinds Trail in The Shores, West Bay, is so badly burned that there may never be a formal identification but police are now working on the assumption that is the body of Scott-Roberts.

The murder of the Cable and Wireless Communications Manager and former Director the Crisis Centre Scott Roberts (33) has sent shock waves through the Cayman Islands community. As an advocate for the rights of women and children, a warrior against violence and abuse and a member of the human rights committee Scott-Roberts was well-knownand admired. 

While the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service says it may never be possible to get a positive ID even with DNA because of the severity of the fire, and much will rest with the forensic pathologist, Dr Hyma who was flown in from Miami on Sunday tonight, this is now a murder enquiry.  The car, a black SUV 2007 Ford Edge license 129-257, is registered to Scott-Roberts who was last seen around 11:00pm on Friday night when she left Decker’s restaurant after diner.

Police are desperate for all and any information from the community. Kennett said anything no matter how insignificant it may seem to a member of the public could turn out to be a crucial part of the jigsaw which the RCIPS is now putting together with regards to the last movements of Scott Roberts and the search for her killer.

So far the police have stated categorically that Scott-Roberts’ husband Rayles Roberts is not in anyway a suspect in the enquiry and he was questioned merely to help piece together the victim’s movements. “He is no way a suspect whatsoever,” Kennett confirmed on Sunday 12 October at a Press Conference outside George Town Police Station where he appealed to the community for help.

He said that the police wanted to hear from anyone who may have seen Scott Roberts or her car after she left Decker’s restaurant on Friday night at around 11-11:30 pm.

“A priority for us at this time is finding out what happened to Estella after she left Decker’s restaurant. It is crucial that we find out how her car got from the restaurant to West Bay,” he said. “We know she had dinner with friends and left the restaurant sometime between 11 and 11.30pm. We do not know how the vehicle got to West Bay. Did you see her in the car park after she left the restaurant? Did you see her car on the road? If you did, where was it heading? Who was in it? We need you to come forward.”

Kennett explained that police were still investigating how the fire was started.

“The vehicle is being forensically examined by Scenes of Crime officers and we will be seeking the opinion of fire experts. We believe the car would have been burning for some time and that the person who started the fire used some sort of accelerant, such as gas. If this is the case, it is possible that whoever did this went to get the gas overnight Friday into Saturday. This could have been from a gas station. If anyone has knowledge of gas being bought, maybe in a canister, or of gas being stolen from a storage facility, they need to come forward as this could be vital to our enquiry,” he added.

He said that police were also trying to establish how the perpetrator left the scene.

“We do not know how whoever started this fire left the Dykes. It could have been on foot, in a car or some other means of transport,” he said, urging taxi drivers who may have collected someone of interest from the West Bay area to come forward. “This may have been someone acting suspiciously, someone in a distressed state or someone who wanted collecting from the side of the road. Anything out of the ordinary could be important.” He also asked anyone who may have given someone a ride in the area to come forward.

Kennett said anyone who was in the area overnight or early Saturday morning, perhaps walking dogs, cycling or jogging, and saw something unusual should contact the police. Even if they consider their information to be insignificant, they should come forward, he added.

The fire would have been an absolute blaze, Kennett stated, and asked for people who may have seen flames or smoke in the area to call the police. “There is a possibility that the killer may have been burnt whilst setting the car alight – they may have suffered singed hair, eyebrows or clothes,” he said, asking people to come forward if anyone they know had appeared with burns.

He also said that the police would ask anyone along the West Bay Road who has CCTV footage that may have been taken of the actual the road area after 11pm to bring that film to the police so they can see if Scott-Roberts’ car shows up.

“This is clearly an extremely difficult time for Estella’s family and our thoughts and prayers are with them. This worry has extended into the community and I want to reassure everybody that we are doing all we can to find out what has taken place. I now make an appeal to the public to do the same. If you have any information about Estella’s movements after 11pm on Friday or saw her vehicle or any suspicious activity in the Dykes or surrounding area, I ask you to contact us.”

Kennett said numerous lines of enquiry were being followed including one line of enquiry that Scott Roberts had been threatened. He also said that police were looking into the alleged release of a convicted offender from HMP Northward on Friday, at whose trial Scott Roberts reportedly had given evidence. A police spokesperson confirmed that the prison does not routinely inform the police when it releases any offenders.

Kennett also noted the coincidences surrounding  that Scott–Roberts’ murder had with the murder of Swiss banker Frederic Bise whose body was found dead in a burning car in West Bay and who had last been seen at Decker’s restaurant the previous evening. “There are some things that are a bit of a coincidence perhaps both deceased had gone to Decker’s and both have ended up dead in a burning car but there is nothing other than that to link the two,” he said. He also stated that a man who was arrested in the area and currently in custody on suspicion of a drugs charge was not a suspect in the murder enquiry.

Dispelling other various rumours which have already circulated the police confirmed that the Decker’s car park from which Scott Roberts was abducted and where her shoes were found indicating a struggle, was treated as a crime scene and forensic evidence taken immediately. They confirmed however that the scene where the body was discovered was impaired by torrential rains destroying any tracks that the murderer may have left behind in his escape.

The car was eventually discovered by an officer from the Department of the Environment who were involved with the police in an extensive search triggered by a trace made on Scott-Roberts cell phone to the area.

Anyone who can assist should contact George Town police station on 949-4222 and ask for the Criminal Investigation Department or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why do comments keep disappearing today?

    CNS: We’re trying to keep a balance between giving people the platform to express their feelings, share concerns, etc and keeping a lid on false rumour and speculation that could cause harm. It’s not always easy to decide. For example, there were a few comments criticising Deckers for not having enough lights in the car park, but as one of the owners pointed out, the area where Estella appears to be abducted is not their property.