Estella’s friends found evidence

Husband started search at 4am

Friends of Estella Scott-Roberts
found crucial evidence when they searched the Barkers area of West Bay after
her body was found in a burned out car on 11 October, 2008.

That evidence was introduced in
court Monday after Solicitor General Cheryll Richards set out the case against
Kirkland Henry and Larry Ricketts, both charged with Estella’s murder.

Nadia Dilbert, Kathryn
Dinspel-Powell, Rochelle Smith, Sophia Ebanks and Joshua Foster went to Barkers
on 12 October to see where Estella’s vehicle had been found. They were accompanied
by Kathryn’s husband, Hank Powell, a former policeman.

Nadia’s statement said they found items
near the car scene, including confetti like that which was used at Estella’s
birthday dinner Friday night. Sophia found cell phone ear buds.

Then Kathryn suggested they check
nearby beaches. There they saw duct tape and Nadia found a used condom.

In her opening address, Ms Richards
said a condom was analysed and found to have DNA from the deceased as well as
from the defendant Henry.

Henry, 28, pleaded guilty to the abduction, rape and robbery of Estella.  Ricketts, 26, pleaded not guilty.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, who
is hearing the matter without a jury, agreed that Henry’s sentence for those
offences should be adjourned until after the trial for murder.

Ms Richards and Crown Counsel
Kirsty-Ann Gunn read statements from Estella’s friends and her husband, Rayle
Roberts.

Mr. Roberts said he and Estella met
in 2000 and married in March, 2006.  

On Wednesday, 8 October, he took
her out to dinner for her birthday. He invited her friends, but they said they
were planning a surprise girls’ night out for Friday.

On that Friday, she left home about
8.05pm and he went out to eat. He then went to the Office Lounge where he met
friends and stayed until around 11.45pm. 
He had checked his phone around 11.30 and realised he had missed a call
from Estella’s phone. There was no voice message because his voice mail was
full.

He tried to call her, but her phone
went to voicemail. This did not surprise him because she was often on
conference calls for Cable and Wireless. He went home and called her again, but
there was no answer. He figured she and her friends had gone to a club, so he
went to bed. He woke up several times and tried to call her, without success.

Around 4am he decided to drive
through town looking for her car, a black Ford Edge. He looked in club parking
lots but did not see it. At the time he was thinking that maybe she had had too
much to drink and had left with one of her friends.

At 5am he called his brother
O’Neil, who said the girls had gone to Deckers Restaurant. Rayle picked him up
and they drove to Deckers, then to the hospital and then to the family Life
Centre where Estella would have been that Saturday for an expo.

Rayle said he phoned a friend,
former policeman Bruce Sigsworth and they drove around. Bruce suggested tracing
Estella’s phone. They went to Deckers, where a pair of shoes had been found
that belonged to Estella.

Then he got a call and was told
that the last signal from Estella’s phone had come from north of Pappagallo in West Bay.
He got another call that said the phone had died about 7.37am in the Bodden Road area of
George Town.

Because other people were already
searching in West Bay, Bruce suggested that they go to George Town and he agreed. While they
searched, police called Bruce and said Rayle should come in and give a
statement.

Meanwhile friends were searching in
West Bay.  They met Marine Conservation Officer Clinton
Nicholson who was on routine patrol.

Mr. Nicholson told the court he
knew the Barkers area well. He said he drove on the Mangrove Buffer Road.

He came upon a burned out vehicle,
so he pulled over and radioed Central. He got out and walked around the vehicle
and found an open rear door. When he looked in he discovered a human body. He
called Central again.

“I stood very still and waited for
police and my supervisor…. I didn’t move or touch anything.”

Questioned by Ian Bourne QC on
behalf of Henry, he agreed there was a metal fence between the dead end of the
road and The Shores. There was also a large mound of earth there at the time,
which one would have to go over to gain access to The Shores.

Questioned by Robert Fortune QC on
behalf of Ricketts, Mr. Nicholson agreed that the area was quite hazardous to
drive around. Asked if one would need local knowledge to negotiate the area,
Mr. Nicholson replied “Or a four-wheel drive or SUV.”

Estella’s debit card has been
linked to defendant Ricketts because he allegedly tried to use it at an ATM
machine shortly after Estella’s disappearance.

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Mrs. Scott-Roberts

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