Prisoner arrested over Sabrina death

The Royal Cayman Islands Police arrested a 38-year-old Northward Prison inmate this morning in connection with the brutal killing of Sabrina Schirn.

Police would not confirm the arrested man’s identity, but acknowledged the suspect had been doing daily work release at a prison farm, located near where the 21-year-old’s body was found on 17 March.

Commissioner of Corrections and Rehabilitation, William Rattray, told a press conference that the man has no prior history of violent crime and was rated a category C security risk prisoner on a scale of A (highest risk) to D (lowest risk).

Describing the arrest as a ‘significant development’, Acting Police Commissioner James Smith and Police Superintendant Marlon Bodden both refused to speculate on why Sabrina had been in the remote East End area, or whether she knew the man that is now in police custody.

Mr. Rattray would not speculate on how the prisoner might have left the partially fenced prison farm without prison officers noticing but insisted ‘HMCIPS did not negligently put Sabrina’s life at risk.’

‘This incident, in our view, is an aberration that could not have been predicted by any instrument currently available to predict human behaviour available anywhere in the world,’ he said.

Mr. Rattray said groups of eight to 12 are typically supervised by two prison officers who are horticultural instructors on the 200-acre farm, but he admitted the prisoners are not under constant supervision.

‘It is a large area and therefore, just as a teacher in a classroom can’t have his or her eyes on every single pupil at every single moment nor is it possible for every prisoner at the farm to be able to see every single prisoner at every part of the working day.’

Despite a wave of public criticism over the way the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service have handled the case, Superintendent Bodden denied police had bungled the case, saying the investigating team would have acted the same if they had their time over again.

‘I have complete confidence in the experienced investigators, particularly Detective Inspector Kim Evans and his team of very experienced investigators,’ Mr. Bodden said.

‘We would not have done anything differently.’

Police said they hoped the arrest would bring some small measure of comfort to Sabrina’s family, whose funeral is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Saturday, 4 April, at the Agape Worship Centre on Fairbanks Rd from 9am.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.