James: Akiel did not drown in my pool *LINK*
Posted By: New In Response To: Re: AKIEL CHAMBERS INQUEST *LINK* (Newsday)
Date: 16, October 03, at 6:11 p.m.
In Response To: Re: AKIEL CHAMBERS INQUEST *LINK* (Newsday)
By HAYDEN MILLS
POPULAR racehorse owner Charles James testified yesterday that he was not trying to incriminate anybody in the death of Akiel Chambers, including "my wife", but somebody knew something and was not talking.
He also said he was convinced Chambers did not drown at the pool party and that he was ignorant of his daughter's Saturday party until he met police officers at his home with his wife the following day,
When he returned home and was informed by his wife that a young boy's dead body had been retrieved from his pool earlier that Sunday, he even suggested to one of the two officers sitting in his kitchen that they take a sample of water from the "clear" pool and see if it matched that in the boy's lungs.
James, 58, a businessman of 23 Balata Terrace, Haleland Park, Maraval, was speaking from the witness box in the Port of Spain Magistrates' Eighth Court yesterday before Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls who is presiding as Coroner in the sixth hearing of the second inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of Chambers.
Chambers was found dead in a crouched position at the bottom of James's pool by police officers on May 24, 1998, the Sunday morning after the party was thrown for his fellow Blackman Private School classmate, Carrie, James's daughter.
Carrie turned 11 next day.
After returning home around 2.45 p.m. and being brought up to speed about the discovery of the body, he said he became very angry with Annelore, his wife, and went to the pool.
He said it was "clear as day" and "you could find a pin at the bottom of the pool".
James told the Coroner he returned home between 7.45 and 8 p.m. the Saturday evening.
When he arrived, a "lady sat in the entrance of driveway" to whom he extended good evening greetings.
He opened the door and went straight to his room (which was downstairs).
Three to four minutes later, Annelore entered and offered him something to eat, which he refused, James said. He afterwards asked her to close the door.
He said he knew nothing about a missing person
James said he went to sleep and was sure his wife did not sleep on the bed with him, something she usually did.
James, a racehorse enthusiast, said he never came out during the night and that he awoke the Sunday morning around 5 o'clock.
He said he and his wife, Annelore, from whom he is now separated, had a "strange way of living" and he told the coroner they had no conversation the Saturday night or Sunday morning.
He was shocked to learn that officers had come to his house late Saturday night and searched his swimming pool.
He said when he left home Saturday, around 10.30 a.m. to go to the Arima Race Club, the pool was clear and there was no need to put chlorine in it.
If the water was chlorinated, James said, after 9 p.m. Saturday, the pool would have been clear.
And he told Desmond Allum, SC, who was representing the Chambers family, that the purpose of adding chlorine to the pool was to make the pool clearer.
He did say, however, that it took at least 48 hours for the chlorine to be well circulated and for the filtering process to take place.
He did not look at the 25 by 48 foot pool when he left Sunday morning though, because he was never really told what had happened, James said.
The four dusk/dawn lights available to the pool were "very bright" and there were two lights at opposite sides at the base of the pool, he continued.
James described his wife as "a very smart woman...cunning", who, he claimed, "lies a lot" and "this whole thing" had led to their separation.
He said there were a lot of "unanswered questions" and "something was not right", adding that "a body appearing in a pool just like that is not right".
He said after Chambers's death, Annelore would tell him certain things, like the lights and television would "go on and off" and that the house was "haunted".
She had aged drastically, he said, and lost a lot of weight.
And he told the Coroner he was still trying to figure out the reason why.
James said he had no idea how Chambers died and he was never questioned by the police nor was a statement ever taken from him concerning the matter.
Party hostess Annelore James claimed in the second half of her testimony yesterday that her husband James had known of the party.
Annelore told the court yesterday that James, her husband, "knew" of the party.
But James told Coroner McNicolls that the party was discussed with him about three weeks prior to the event but he had staunchly refused because he thought it was dangerous.
Birthday girl Carrie had also said on Tuesday that her father was in the dark about the party.
Annelore had insisted that Carrie could not have seen clearly in the pool the Sunday morning she and her friends went swimming because she had put chlorine in it around 6 a.m. and the water was "milky".
She insisted that the pool was cloudy the night she and other parents looked for Chambers in the pool when his aunt Valerie Pascall came to pick him up and he was found to be missing—this despite the fact that she gave a statement to the police five years ago that it was clear, as pointed out by attorney Desmond Allum.
She spoke of the visit of another parent, Trevor Craigwell, to her home Sunday morning to enquire if she had heard anything about Chambers from Pascall.
She denied, however, that he was there around 6.15 a.m. as Craigwell himself told the police.
She told Allum: "Nobody came to the premises around that time."
Annelore claimed that Craigwell's visit was sometime before the police arrived that morning.
She said she had also tried calling James on his cellphone after the police pulled Chambers's body out of the water but the phone had been switched off.
But James said he always had his phone on and he had no problems with reception.
Earlier, Annelore had broken down in tears when she recounted how Chambers's body was fished out of the pool.
She said she was in shock when the body was retrieved and "just blanked out".
She could not believe "a boy was in the pool all this time".
And when the Coroner questioned her choice of words, she said she "assumed he had drowned in the pool".
German-born Annelore, 54, said: "I would really like to find out what happened. I really need to know. It is a sad thing that happened. I need to know, too."
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