Veteran court reporter murdered in his bed
In my two decades as a broadcaster I have reported on the murder of hundreds-perhaps thousands-of Belizeans... but tonight, for the first time, it is my unhappy duty to chronicle the homicide of a colleague. For the last two years Richard Hulse was News Five's court reporter. While you never saw his face on T.V. he spent each day moving constantly between Magistrate's Court and the Supreme Court, stopping daily at our newsroom to write up his stories, which he also supplied to Love F.M. and The Guardian. Around noon today his bloody corpse was found at his Belize City home.
Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
The blood splattered walls and the mess left inside the one room wooden house suggest there may have been a vicious struggle that led to the killing of well-known freelance court reporter, forty-seven year old Richard Hulse. The television still left on displayed several bloody specks on the screen and there was also blood all over Hulse's exhaustive hand-written files.
The gruesome discovery was made around eleven this morning by a young man who works in the area. He noticed that the house's outdoor light was still on and the front door was opened. According to the witness, who did not wish to appear on camera, Hulse's face was wrapped in cloth and facing his pillow.
Voice of Witness
"He don't keep his door open at all, he always kept it locked. I noticed that the door is open for a very, very long time and then my boss wife came and she was calling for him and he wasn't responding, so she ask me to go and look and see if Richard is in the house. So I went to see if Richard was there and when I saw the lifeless body of Richard face down on the bed."
"You saw any stab wounds on the body?"
Voice of Witness
"All I could recognize was a pillow and a cloth and a lot of blood on the floor and on him."
The last time Hulse was reportedly seen alive was around ten on Wednesday night in the neighbourhood. Superintendent of Police and Officer in Charge of the Crimes Investigation Branch, Chester Williams, says the body had multiple stab wounds, mostly to the abdomen. Notably absent was Hulse's thick gold chain which he always wore with a medal bearing a red stone and a picture of the immaculate Mary. Williams says at this time the police are not ruling out anything in their investigation.
Sup. Chester Williams, O.C. CIB, Belize City
"So we will look at his friends, people who visit him on a daily basis, and we will start our investigation from that end."
"At this point in time we will look at every possible angle that may come up in our investigation because what we want to achieve at the end of the day is to find the person or persons who are responsible for this murder, so I could assure the public that whatever could be done in order to solve this gruesome crime we will do in order to reach where we want to go with the investigation."
Richard had been working around the city courts for seventeen years and when word of his untimely death got out, it did not take long before a large crowd gathered at the scene. A commotion quickly arose after the victim's brother, overcome with emotion, tried to again access into the house while the police were gathering evidence.
Supt. Chester Williams
"I will make it emphatically clear that whenever the police are on a crime scene, it is important for us to maintain the integrity of our crime scenes and one way of doing so is to avoid people from trampling on our crime scene. It does not matter if it is a family member or friend, we must respect the police line. We have tapes which we use to curtain off the area and no one is permitted to go beyond those tapes. So I will appeal to people, if police are on a crime scene please, respect the crime scene. At this time I will not say whether or not I will file charges against the brother, but I will contemplate what to do with him because he totally disrespected the police on this crime scene."
Neighbours who described Richard as a pleasant man who always had jokes to tell and willing to extend a helping hand, could not believe that he had been killed.
Gilbert Cargill, Neighbour/Friend
"He usually go dah work as nine o'clock. He dah man as, the bap, bap, bap, bathe up, change up and let's go dah work. I sorry to hear that, because he always help me with everything."
Gilbert Cargill, who lives next door, says he was not home, but wonders if Hulse, who he has known for more than two decades, was killed by one of young men who frequently visited the house or if an incident last December may provide a link to the murder.
"I use to warn him about them boys, all night, hours of night when the house was there, the old house was there downstairs boys in, boys out."
"In December they mi after ah. Two boys meet ah on George Street and they attack ah, but he mi able to fight off one ah them. And from then he shoulda mi tek warning. I feel like da the same two boys who mi attack ah that night."
At the crime scene police collected and bagged evidence they hope will help them catch the killer or killers.
Strangely, although Hulse was a close colleague, we have precious little information on his personal life. At this point, we can only report that he is survived by his brother Dean and has at least one adult daughter. At news time, funeral arrangements had not yet been finalised.