Bloody end to three-year manhunt Neil Bovell killed
-riddled with bullets fleeing from father's house
December 28, 2006
The three-year manhunt for killer, kidnapper and serial rapist, Neil Bovell, came to a bloody end at around 10:20hrs yesterday, after the fugitive was cornered and shot dead by police at Inner Stanleytown, West Bank Demerara.
Bovell, an ex-policeman, was riddled with bullets as he fled from his father's house in an attempt to seek refuge in thick vegetation in the area.
Kaieteur News understands that police received a call from someone who said that the fugitive was at his father's Lot 137 Stanleytown home.
According to a source, a senior rank and a party of armed policemen went to the area in two unmarked vehicles.
There are reports that Bovell had just emerged from the house and was in the yard cutting up meat to prepare a meal for a fire which was already lit.
On seeing police, Bovell allegedly sprinted towards the backyard but by then the ranks had already surrounded the yard.
Bovell led police on a dramatic chase through a muddy track dodging bullets and keeping ranks at a safe distance despite being shot.
The outlaw managed to flee as far as several lots away to the yard where 64-year-old Vernon Bernard was killed, his daughter Velda was kidnapped, and their house torched in 2003.
Bovell then manoeuvred his way to another lot and was attempting to sprint over to a neighbouring yard where a pensioner was killed in police crossfire three years ago.
However, he was cut down in a hail of bullets which ripped open his right shoulder and left gaping holes in his body.
It is believed that Bovell was hiding out in his father's house for some time, a move which was objected to by a close relative who subsequently moved out of the area.
Sources have revealed that the dead man's 66-year-old father might be charged for aiding and abetting a dangerous criminal.
At the time of his death, Bovell was clad in short dark grey pants with the pockets turned out and a pair of long boots. He was not wearing a shirt and sported a ‘funky-dread' hairstyle.
A small awe-stricken crowd which mustered the courage to leave their homes gathered at the scene where Bovell was captured.
“One woman cried when she saw the dead man,” an officer at the scene told this newspaper.
Another woman vomited at the sight of the grizzly-looking fugitive as undertakers carried his body from the backyard to a waiting hearse.
Residents congregated in groups and were overheard reminiscing in low tones about their personal escapades with the wanted man.
One resident recalled passing Bovell smoking a cigarette on the street a few weeks ago but said he was afraid to alert his female companion for fear that she might have looked back or screamed.
Another man, whose brother-in-law was killed in crossfire during one of Bovell's daring escapades, ventured that he would see the wanted man from time to time.
The man, who maintains a farm at the back of his yard, said that he never reported his sightings since the man was not a threat to him.
“I would see him every now and then but I can't show everybody because you still have to live here even though he never used to check for men; just the girls he used to interfere with,” the man said.
He added that Bovell was being hunted frequently by a group of men whom he had wronged but would always escape since they wanted to shoot him at close range.
Bovell also escaped several police dragnets and even endured the destruction of several of his hideouts in the backlands.
The fugitive was even seen occasionally in the community dressed in women's clothing.
Behind the tears, cheers and elated expressions on the faces of Stanleytown residents, the general consensus was one of relief.
“We're relieved for a number of reasons. I'm very happy that the matter has been brought to an end. It shows that the police are really working and just as how they have stepped up capturing these wanted men we would appreciate if they sharpen their skills in apprehending and prosecuting,” one prominent member of the community said.
“He had a strong support network. Somebody had to be feeding him and braiding his hair,” one eyewitness said.
One police rank said he travelled to the area to ensure Bovell was dead since he was once part of the team which hunted him.
A woman who had felt the wrath of the fugitive said she felt much safer now and can even venture into her backyard at nights without fear.
With sirens blaring, heavily-armed police escorted the body to the West Demerara Regional Hospital mortuary where curious onlookers gasped in horror and disbelief.
The heavily-muscled, dreadlocked fugitive bore little resemblance to bulletins which police had posted of him.
His healthy appearance confirmed reports that persons had been harbouring the killer, who had terrorised the community since 2003.
During his reign of terror, traumatised residents of Stanleytown had called for the Guyana Defence Force to help police to capture the wanted man.
The residents had said that they had lost all confidence in the police who they claimed had exhibited nothing but foot-dragging.
The residents also claimed that the police had not done everything in their power to flush out the fugitive who was crafty in guerilla warfare.
Bovell was said to be well versed in survival techniques and skilled in endurance tactics and procedures.
“This man is in sync with his environment and he knows how to blend in with his surroundings. He can exist on limited food, in trees and under water,” one prominent resident had stated.
“If they had cut off his food supply a long time ago they would have caught him because then he would have nothing to eat and he would come out of hiding…,” was one of the many sentiments expressed before he was captured.
“He is not an ordinary criminal. He knows how to survive the police, so they can't use the same plans they would use on ordinary people…,” one woman had told Kaieteur News in a previous interview.
In one of their many raids, the police had set fire to the canefields where Bovell was believed to be hiding.
After the fire died down, police found utensils and clothing which they believed were used by the fugitive.
In another raid, 70-year-old Eustace Small was shot dead after Bovell took cover behind the pensioner who was in his yard.
Police officials had apologised to the slain man's family and had indicated that they would be compensated.
However, the man's brother-in-law told this newspaper that they are still to hear from the police.
Police had also employed the use of aircraft in their many searches.
Flying over several miles of dense terrain, the aerial patrol located three empty camps which they believed Bovell had used, but found no other trace of the fugitive.
Even a special police team was formed to capture him but this also failed.
Bovell was wanted for two counts of murder, five counts of rape, three counts of abduction and an arson charge.
A $3million reward was offered for any information leading to the capture of the wanted man.