Young mother accused of murdering grandmother had severe postpartum depression, family calls for heightened awareness and effective treatment at hospitals and clinics

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Simone Gamell, the dead woman's daughter

That 22-year-old teacher who is accused of murdering her grandmother is believed to have been suffering from severe postpartum depression.  Her family members who sought medical advice following the incident are now calling for research into postpartum depression, better awareness, and treatment services at the hospitals for women affected by the disorder.

Even as Guyana joins the rest of the world in observing 16 days of activism against Gender-based violence, the harrowing murder of 75-year-old Angelica Agatha Gamell who was found at her Charity, Essequibo coast residence with a slit throat and other stab wounds about her body in the wee hours of Monday morning cannot go unnoticed. The main suspect in the woman’s murder is her 22-year-old granddaughter, Stephanie Gamell who she nurtured and took care of while she attended nursery school right up to secondary school.

The dead woman’s daughter, Simone Gamell during a telephone conversation with They Break News on Tuesday said that the family is still trying to come to grips with their loss.

Simone related that before the incident Shephanie spent most of her childhood in the care of Gamell after her parents separated. However, Stephanie subsequently moved. She detailed that the two developed a strong bond and on the day of the murder, Stephanie was spending the night at Gamell’s house after her mother complained that she was misbehaving the night before.

According to Simone, Stephanie was displaying strange behaviour in the presence of her mother and stepfather who tried their best to calm her. She detailed that Stephanie’s behaviour was aggressive and she was under the illusion that her parents wanted to take her one-month-old baby away from her.

Further, Simone stated that Stephanie shockingly began pouring salt and lime on her mother’s body. After enduring the night, Stephanie’s mother decided to contact Gamell, detailing their experience with the young woman. They later agreed that Stephanie would spend the following night with Gamell … then the unexpected happened.

Simone said she suspects that because of how her niece was behaving during her stay at Gamell’s house, Gamell decided to keep the baby with her while Stephanie eventually fell asleep. However, upon waking and not seeing her baby, the woman may have been triggered into committing the heinous act.

Police say on Sunday around 04:00 hrs, a neighbour informed them she heard screams coming from Gamell’s house. She was subsequently found lying in the kitchen with her head shaved and her face covered in blood. According to the police, a broken glass jar was found on the floor next to Gamell’s body and cooking salt was seen scattered on the floor.

Simone added that a Doctor in the community inferred that Stephanie is being affected by postpartum depression. She noted that before her niece gave birth, she was completely normal. However, after undergoing a cesarean section procedure during childbirth, nurses at the hospital told the family that something was amiss with Stephanie’s conduct.

“After Stephanie came out of the hospital, the nurses told her mother that she was losing consciousness from time to time and that something was wrong,” Simone stated.

She narrated that Stephanie was kept under observation by the nurses for two additional days before being discharged.

“When she came out, she was pretty okay except for this past weekend,” Simone added.

The woman believes that had medical intervention been sought sooner to address the disorder her niece was experiencing, her mother’s life would have been saved.

She is calling on health authorities to raise awareness of postpartum depression targeting pregnant women at hospitals and clinics.

“At the maternity wards, they should sensitize people visiting the patients on postpartum depression, its signs, and the services available for people experiencing the disorder before the situation gets out of hand,” she said.

Angelica Agatha Gamell has been described as a loving and exemplary woman who upheld Christian values.

Dead: Angelica Agatha Gamell

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