Overstating his role in Canadian politics wasn’t a problem — until Rakesh David was charged with three murders – National Post

If his social media accounts are any indication, the party and fallout from the federal election were all that were on his mind before his family was shot

Author of the article:

Adrian Humphreys

Rakesh David in a mug shot from police in Trinidad and Tobago after his arrest for multiple murders.
Rakesh David in a mug shot from police in Trinidad and Tobago after his arrest for multiple murders. Photo by Handout

As a would-be Conservative politician, Rakesh David liked to gladhand with people of power and influence, often overplaying his role and connections in politics, but no one seemed to mind much, until he was arrested for three murders.

Advertisement

Just three days before members of David’s family were shot dead in Trinidad and Tobago, at the airport on his way to the Caribbean island, David bumped into Conservative Party President Rob Batherson.

“Guess who I had the ultimate privilege of seeing today at the Ottawa airport,” David said in a Facebook post on Sept. 21, with a photo of the two. “Awesome guy to talk to virtually, and even more awesome-er in person.”

Batherson posted of the encounter, as well: “You never know the famous people you’ll meet at the Ottawa airport! Got the chance to thank @_RakeshDavid for being such a great ambassador for @CPC_HQ.”

Batherson deleted his post after David — who was not at all famous at the time — was charged with murdering his grandmother, mother and younger brother.

Advertisement

Kumari Kowlessar-Timal, 77, Radeshka Timal, 48, and Zachary David, 22, were all shot in the head on Sept. 24, inside Timal’s home in the town of San Juan, local police said.

Rakesh David with Conservative Party President Rob Batherson.
Rakesh David with Conservative Party President Rob Batherson. Photo by Rob Batherson/Twitter

David, who also went by the nickname Kris, is a dual citizen of Canada and Trinidad and Tobago; his mother and brother were also Canadian citizens, according to police.

Several people who know him said the allegations are bizarre and dramatically out of character.

Much of David’s online activity and volunteer work were devoted to the Conservative party, which he fell in love with. If his social media accounts are any indication, the party and fallout from the federal election were all that were on his mind before his family was shot.

After arriving in Trinidad, the day before the murders, David posted a photo of himself, well-dressed in a dark business suit, white shirt, blue tie, and a Canada flag lapel pin — the uniform for a male Conservative politician.

“Last leg of travel for a few weeks. Decided to wear a blue tie in support of the @CPC_HQ and @erinotoole,” he tweeted with his selfie, tagging both the Conservative Party’s and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s Twitter accounts.

“It is all very shocking and a very, very sad situation all around,” said Batherson in an interview.

“It’s clear from some of the other social media comments that party members have made, who have known Mr. David far better than I did, just how shocking this turn of events has been.”

Advertisement

In online profiles, David variously describe himself as a “Member’s Assistant at the Parliament of Canada,” a “campaign manager” and “Leadership Campaign Team Member,” but, although a keen advocate and volunteer, the Conservative Party said David had no paid position with the party or any of its MPs.

He had a volunteer spot on the Barrie-Innisfil Conservatives’ electoral district association board, north of Toronto, for about a year, which has been cancelled.

“Certainly, there seems to be a difference between what he actually did versus what he claimed to be,” said Batherson.

Batherson said his own awkwardly timed face-to-face with David, their first and only, was a “random encounter” at the airport, although they had online interactions previously. (A subsequent tweet from David confirms it was their first real-life meeting.)

Advertisement

Batherson’s effusive Facebook post was “really just an appreciation of his social media activity,” he said. He deleted the post when he heard the accusations.

“Out of respect for the victims,” he said was his reason. “It certainly didn’t make sense to appear to be endorsing someone who is alleged to have committed a terrible, terrible crime.”

In a long post online, David said being in the Conservative party was “the highlight of my life.”

Conservatives, he wrote, were “totally warm and welcoming,” despite him being a visible minority and disabled, and that was a rare experience for him. It was his first time “feeling a sense of belonging.”

David was born with severe facial deformities, eye disorders, and limb disfigurements.

Advertisement

In a testimonial he wrote for Athabasca University, an Alberta-based online institution where David was a student in political science, he described his difficulties.

“These abnormalities, along with complications that have arose after my birth have caused me to have permanent disabilities that have a far-reaching impact on my life,” he wrote.

When he was 12, David was featured in a Postmedia story about children born with facial deformities. He told reporter Sharon Kirkey he loves video games, crime stories and wants to fly a plane one day.

Right: Rakesh David, who was born with significant disfigurements, outside of his house in Brampton, Ont., in 2008.
Right: Rakesh David, who was born with significant disfigurements, outside of his house in Brampton, Ont., in 2008. Photo by Kaz Ehara/Postmedia/File

His mother told Kirkey of her instant love for her son when doctors finally let her see him after his birth.

His dozens of surgeries, treatments, pain, and healing “have stolen parts of my childhood,” he wrote for the university.

Advertisement

“I have been a victim of teasing, bullying, discrimination, and have been singled out and treated differently throughout my life. However, this adverse experience, despite its intolerable nature, has made me a stronger and more mature person,” he wrote.

His testimonial has since been removed from the school’s website.

Now, most of his social media posts have angry new comments added by others about the charges.

David had his first court appearance in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago’s capital, on Oct. 1 and was ordered held in jail until his next appearance, scheduled for Oct. 29.

He was arrested the same day his family members were found dead, on Sept. 21. They had each been shot in the head, investigators said. Along with three counts of murder, he is charged with several gun offences.

He allegedly brought the gun with him from Canada, causing alarm in the local community over how he got it on a plane and out of the airport.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is currently liaising with Canadian officials to verify if the gun in question is registered in Canada,” a police spokesman said.

• Email: ahumphreys@postmedia.com | Twitter: AD_Humphreys

Posted Newsletter logo

NP Posted

Sign up to receive the daily top stories from the National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300