A popular local actor was found dead yesterday morning with his throat slit at the Liliendaal seawall — hours before his latest production was set to open at the National Cultural Centre.
At the time he was found, Joel Fraser, 39, of Lot 27 Laing Avenue, was wearing only his underpants and a t-shirt. Valuables, which he had had in his possession, including a laptop computer and production material for the premiere of the Mori J’von Comedy Jam, were missing.
Investigators were yesterday trying to ascertain the motive behind the killing, which sent shockwaves through the theatrical community that Fraser had been a member of for many years.
However, according to reports circulating, Fraser was having a relationship with the ex-wife of controversial former treason accused Mark Benschop up until his death. Further, he had confided in his close friends that he had received numerous death threats by an unknown caller on several occasions within the past few days.
Speaking to the media yesterday Maria Benschop told reporters that she saw him alive for the last time early Tuesday night.
Mrs. Benschop said that Fraser was her Production Manager and they were in the height of preparing for a performance in Berbice some time next month.
According to Benschop, Fraser left rehearsals for the ‘Nothing to laugh about’ show to attend rehearsals for another comedy show in which he was scheduled to perform at the National Cultural Centre last night (Wednesday).
“He called me at about 12:15 (after midnight) and said that he was at the market, making arrangements to have the banner for the show taken up for display in Berbice. I called him back about an hour later but while talking to him my phone ran out of credit,” Benschop said.
She explained that at around 7:30 hours yesterday she received a telephone call from a female informing her that Fraser was dead.
Mrs. Benschop had also objected to some of the contents in a statement that the police had written upon her dictation.
“When I saw the one that they wrote and asked me to sign, I objected. I wanted to write my own statement. They wanted me to sign the one they wrote and I was uncomfortable with that,” said Benschop
She was subsequently placed on the ‘bench’ where she remained for several hours until her attorney arrived.
Benschop later prepared her own statement, which she gave to investigators and was duly sent away.