When Pauline Bharat goes to bed at night, and the house grows quiet, what happened in the final moments of the life of her infant son Sean Luke fills her mind.
“I put my pillow over my face and bawl into it, so nobody would hear me. And I pray to God to remove these thoughts, to please, please, help me. I beg God to have mercy on me,” she said yesterday.
And when morning comes, she said: “I clean up myself and I come outside with a normal face like nothing happened to me.”
This is what Bharat has lived with in the 15 years since the police came to her home at Orange Valley that day in March 2006, and told her they had found Sean, but she could not see his body.
Which was why when the guilty verdicts were announced against the murderers yesterday, Bharat felt nothing—because it changed nothing.
“What justice could I get? My son could come back to me? That is what I want! I want my child to come back to me! That would be my justice. But I would never get that. No man could give that to me, no court, no human could give that to me,” Bharat told the Express.
Justice would only be delivered to the killers, she said, when they too died and had to stand before God.
“In this physical world that we live in, there is no justice. I know that. But when they leave from here and go into the spiritual world, before that spiritual court, they will have to face that judgment. His (God) eyes are everywhere seeing the good and the bad. And his eyes did see what they did to my son.”
When the Express visited Orange Valley yesterday, Bharat was tending to the family’s herd of milking cows across the road from the house where Sean once lived with her.
She now lives there with her 41-year old son, his family, and her 78-year-old mother, with her sister and only sibling her strongest support.
Bharat, now 58 years old, didn’t care to see the judge’s verdict, although the Director of Public Prosecutions had sent a virtual link for her to follow online.
Instead, she sat in the garage of the house, 300 yards away from where her son was found that day, and talked about what would have been, and celebrating what he was, weeping as if all of it happened just yesterday.
Next month, Sean Luke would have been 23 years old, she said.
“He was an A-plus straight student. He would have probably reached where he was going by now. He wanted to fix spaceship and aeroplane engines. He said, ‘Mummy, that is what I want to do when I grow up.’ And I know he would have reached there.
“Because the rate he took off at, and he was consistent in school, he loved to read and he loved books, and I loved to teach him. He was like a sponge. Everything he would soak up. I use to buy him encyclopedia for his age and up and I would read and explain to him,” she shared.
She spoke of the rocket ship he made for a school project that is still on display at the primary school he attended (he was going into Standard One), and of how his teacher would watch him sitting at his desk, head in hand, smiling, his thoughts far away.
“He was such a moving child. He was a thinker, and I believe he would have reached there at NASA to fix those space shuttle engines,” said his mother.
Bharat said no one could fathom such a crime happening in Orange Valley.
“This was a safe place. When they say the village takes care of your children, this was true for this area because everybody related to somebody in a pumpkin vine way. And the school was right there. Everybody walk to school and back home. Nobody had to travel. Everybody lived as one,” she said.
But it happened and Sean was lured into a canefield, to an unspeakable death at the hands of boys who had no business knowing this type of perversion.
Said Bharat: “At the time they murdered my son, there was a video club out the road, and these boys used to go there and get porn (movies) and watch that, you know. All of that contributed to it being in their mind, and what they wanted to do. Because they break up my son before they had sex with him so he couldn’t walk, he couldn’t run, he couldn’t do nothing to fight.”
She spoke of the court case in which she testified: “I remember in court they were showing me Sean’s clothes. They asked me to hold it and touch. I identified it was his clothes and I break out in a bawl, and when I rock back my head and bawl down the court there, my eyes fell on these two fellas (the accused) and they were stone-faced.
“The judge and everybody bent down their head because they didn’t want to see me this way.
“Everybody was like, but these two fellas, who were just watching.”
And there was evidence that came out during the trial that broke her.
“Richard (Chatoo) confessed that he held Sean’s hands for Akeel (Mitchell) to have sex with him. I didn’t know that. And that is something that haunts me. How he could say he didn’t do it, but that he hold down Sean? What kind of mind is that?”
Bharat said the justice system cared nothing for the trauma of the survivors.
“For 15 years I waited, and wondered. Would it be the next month? If not for the Andrea Bharatt (not related) case, which opened up a can of worms and had people questioning things, and asked what about Sean Luke, it would not have started. Because people asked me all the time what happening with the case. I have to say he was not my son alone, he was everybody’s son, because everybody could see the potential danger with their child, and what could possibly happen, because there are paedophiles and all of kinds of wicked sick people out there. And it is a lesson we must remember,” she said.
Bharat recalled attending the Candlelight Movement’s petition-signing event in March at Barakah Grounds in Endeavour, Chaguanas, and meeting Randolph Bharatt, the father of murdered Andrea Bharatt.
‘The same pain I was feeling’
“When I see that man, all could think about was the pain he was feeling. The same pain that I am feeling. And I just held on to that man and cried for him, because I know that pain now started for him.
“I didn’t cry for me. I didn’t cry for Sean. I cried for him. He is not going to feel it yet because he is around so many people—but when he has time to be by himself alone, he will feel it,” she said.
So much time passed that Sean’s father died five years ago, as did Chatoo’s mother, while the families of both killers fled Orange Valley after being told by residents that they were not wanted.
Now that the case is over, Bharat said she felt “I would go soon”.
She wept: “The sadness that I have to live with, it does be overbearing sometimes. Sometimes I image myself on the other side, seeing Sean, hugging him and holding him, kissing him... So I am torn between this world, that I don’t care for anymore. Tell me, is it normal for a human being to feel that way?”
If Bharat were to ever meet the boys/men who killed Sean, she knows what she would say.
“I would have one thing to tell them. And I would look at them in their face, with sadness and very calm, and I would tell them, ‘May God have mercy on your souls.’ Because what is waiting for them, they have no clue. Sean was like a lamb that they murdered.”