TRINIDAD – NewsDay
AFTER 17 years of constant physical and mental abuse, with her cries for help falling on deaf ears, 33-year-old mother Raquel Madoo chose death over a life of torture, drinking poison at her Chaguanas home on Monday and dying three days later, ironically on International Women’s Day.
Even as she lay dying in the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope, Madoo in a final, desperate plea for help, wrote a letter on the cover of a used envelope, detailing the abuse meted out to her by a male relative whom she claimed was also abusing her 13-year-old daughter.
Madoo drank Gramoxone at her Felicity home at 10.30 pm, moments after being beaten by the man who is a member of the protective services. “He would always beat me and tell me I have a man,” Madoo said in the letter. “…I fear for my life. Please help me. Please.” Relatives told Newsday that on Monday, Madoo and the man had an argument over money when he brutally beat her.
After drinking the poison, Madoo contacted her elder brother and told him. Relatives rushed over to the house and took her to the Chaguanas Health Centre. She was later transferred to the EWMSC. Relatives said when they asked the man what had happened, he told them that Madoo had threatened to drink poison during the beating, and to this, he told her to go ahead.
Madoo’s mother Deomattee, speaking to Newsday yesterday at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, said she too had experienced abuse but was able to escape and build her life anew. Her daughter however, was not so lucky.
Deomattee said that after experiencing abuse personally, she did everything she could to take her daughter out of the toxic relationship which began when she (Madoo) was only 16 years. “They met when she was 16. She fell in love and it was hard for her to leave. They also had a child together and she didn’t want the child to live without her father.
“He also has two children, whom she took care of, but when they got big they left because they could not take on seeing her get abused by their father. When they were there they used to stand up for her, but when they left, I feared that he would finally kill her,” Deomattee said.
Madoo, relatives said, left on several occasions and moved back to her mother’s house in Chickland, Couva. However, despite pleas from her family, she always found a reason to go back, whether it was for the children, through fear of what the man might do to her 13-year-old daughter who still lived there, or through false promises that he would change.
“She always used to say she is living in fear for her life. I told her she didn’t have to live in fear that she could live with me. She could have stayed with me and build a house in the yard,” the weeping mother said. Deomattee told Newsday the last time Madoo tried to leave was last year. She called the family and asked them to bring a truck to move all her belongings out of her Felicity home, and back to Chickland.
She also applied to the courts for a protection order against the man on January 17. But with her daughter still living with the man, Madoo felt compelled to return to take care of her.
“When she said she was going back, I said, ‘are you mad? You going back there again?’ I started to cry and begged her to stay, but she said she would be more comfortable at home,” Deomattee said. In the end, the abuse was too much for Madoo to bear and she chose death instead. “Raquel was my hand and my foot. I just wished she was strong enough to leave him once and for all,” Deomattee said.