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Witnesses Tell of Mutilation, Burning of Body

May 8, 1986

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (AP) _ A former soldier testified Wednesday that she saw former Prime Minister Maurice Bishop executed and his body mutilated, and a former army cook said he saw Bishop’s body burned in a mass grave.

Beverley Ann Charles said she saw defendant Lester Redhead cut a finger off Bishop’s body to get a ring and then slit the prime minister’s throat, after Bishop, three of his Cabinet members and seven supporters were lined up against a wall and machine-gunned at army headquarters on Oct. 19, 1983.

The bloody coup by a more radical faction of Bishop’s leftist New Jewel Movement was followed six days later by the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada.

Eighteen former military and government officials, including former Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard and army commander Gen. Hudson Austin, are on trial for 11 counts of murder and conspiracy.

Ms. Charles said she saw the execution and was then ordered to help move the bodies from a courtyard to Fort Rupert, now Fort George.

″From where I was I could see Maurice Bishop, (Education Minister) Jacqueline Creft, (Housing Minister) Norris Bain, Fitzroy Bain, Evelyn Bullen, Evelyn Maitland and Keith Hayling,″ Ms. Charles said. ″They all fell to the ground.″

She said she later saw a truck drive off with the bodies.

Next on the witness stand was former army cook Christopher Bowen, who was stationed at Camp Feldon on the south coast. Bowen said the day after Bishop was killed, he saw the bodies of the prime minister and four others in a trench at the camp.

Bowen said the bodies, including those of Bishop and the three Cabinet ministers, were set on fire. ″They looked like eggs in a frying pan,″ Bowen told the court.

The former army cook said he cried when he saw Bishop’s body and remonstrated with another of the accused, Calistus Bernard, for bringing the bodies to Camp Feldon. He said Bernard told him ″not to question military things.″

The trial is scheduled to continue Thursday.

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