Ten years for burglary with intent to rape

Ebanks released from prison weeks earlier

Ronnie Rodney Ebanks, 41, was
sentenced in Grand Court
last week to 10 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to burglary with
intent to rape.

Justice Charles Quin said he took
into account Ebanks’ previous conviction
for rape, for which he received 12 years, and the fact that this latest offence
occurred shortly after his release from prison – some two or three weeks.

The victim
had been subjected to a terrifying experience, Justice Quin commented.

Crown Counsel Kenneth Ferguson set
out details of the incident and the judge gave a summary prior to sentencing. The
offence took place in July 2009 in a West
Bay Road apartment, where a female visitor was
staying with her daughter, eight.

The woman retired to bed around 1am
with her daughter. She turned out the light and went to sleep.

Then she heard someone whispering
in her ear. She first thought it was a dream, but awoke and saw a man standing
by her bed. He had something over his head, but was wearing no shirt and he
held a knife and a towel. He told the child to be quiet or else he would hurt
her mother.

He told the woman in crude language
what he wanted to do and began to lower himself on her. She used her hands to
push the knife away and rolled her body away. She told her daughter to run for
help.

The man continued to force himself
on her. The daughter realised her mother was in danger and began screaming
loudly. The man then ran out, apparently leaving the apartment by the same way
he had entered – a seaside glass door.

After he left, the woman realised
her finger was cut. She also noticed that the man had left the towel and knife.
She called 911.

Police officers attended and
processed the scene. Around 4am, officers observed a male person walking on the
beach near the property. When they tried to question him, he jumped into the
sea and tried to swim away.

 The Marine Unit was contacted and those
officers found the man – Ebanks — and took him into custody.

 DNA material was lifted from the towel and the
knife left behind. Both were found to match Ebanks’ DNA.

Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey pointed
out that Ebanks had also been charged with aggravated burglary with intent to
rape on the basis that he entered the premises with a knife. He had pleaded not
guilty.

The knife was the factor that would
have made the burglary aggravated, but the Crown could not prove whether he
took the knife in with him or picked it up inside.

Mr. Dixey said photographs helped
because the knife in the bedroom matched knives in a kitchen drawer.

“What difference does it make?” he
asked rhetorically. The maximum sentence for aggravated burglary is life; the
maximum for burglary simpliciter is 14 years.

Ebanks’ behaviour was disgusting,
but he did not go far enough for the Crown to charge him with attempted rape,
Mr. Dixey said.

The maximum sentence for attempted
rape is 14 years.

In this case, the Crown and Defence
agreed that the presence of the child in the room was an aggravating feature of
the offence.

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Quin
aid he took account of Ebanks’ guilty plea and the fact that he was not
convicted of rape or even attempted rape in this case. However, he referred to
a recent Court of Appeal judgment, in which the justices said women in the Cayman Islands “are entitled to go to sleep knowing they
are safe in their homes” (Caymanian Compass, 30 December).

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