Ricketts takes stand to testify

Crown completes case in seven days

Larry Prinston Ricketts took the
stand to defend himself on charges of murder Wednesday morning.

The attorney for Kirkland Henry
said his client will not testify.

 Solicitor General Cheryll Richards QC closed
the case for the prosecution on Tuesday afternoon.

In statements to police, each man
has blamed the other for killing Estella Scott Roberts on the night of 10
October, 2008, after they abducted her and took her to an isolated area in
Barkers, West Bay.

There she was raped and robbed
before a bag was put over head. A post mortem examination showed that she died
from lack of oxygen to breathe. Ricketts has admitted setting her car on fire
and her body was in it at the time.

When Ricketts gives evidence, he
will be cross-examined by Ian Bourne QC on behalf of Henry, and then by Ms
Richards.

The trial was initially set down
for four weeks, but Ms Richards, assisted by Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn,
concluded the evidence for the Crown in seven days.  One Crown witness may return, but defence
attorneys said they would begin to present their cases and break for that
witness.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, who
is hearing the matter without a jury at the defendants’ request, had been given
a trial bundle with statements from 65 potential witnesses for the prosecution.

Only 30 witnesses were needed,
partly because other witness statements duplicated information given in
evidence.

Another reason was the defence
attorneys’ acceptance of various facts, so that the witnesses who would have
testified to those facts were not needed.

Numerous police officers, for
example, did not have to take the stand because attorneys agreed that all exhibits
recovered in the course of the investigation were properly sealed and labelled.
“The defence do not take issue with the integrity of the physical exhibits or
the methods by which they were examined,” they stated.

Other agreed information included
the immigration records of the defendants. They showed that Henry left Cayman
on 17 October, 2008 on a flight to Jamaica and returned on 20 October, 2008.
The court has heard he was arrested on 25 October after one of Estella’s phones
was traced to him.

Immigration records for Ricketts
show that he landed in Cayman on 23 October, 2008. A work permit application
for him was refused on 29 September 2008. He was granted permission to remain
on Island until 30 October, 2008. No other
work permit applications were submitted after 29 September.

Ricketts was arrested on 27 October,
2008 after Henry volunteered to help police officers find him.

Some of the last evidence submitted
by the Crown on Tuesday concerned telephone records, some of which showed the
communications between Ricketts and Henry.

Earlier on Tuesday, the court
visited various sites connected with the crime. The Chief Justice, Crown and
Defence Counsel, court staff and news reporters made the two and a half hour
trip. They wore business attire.

The defendants, accompanied by
prison and police officers, wore handcuffs and shackles around their ankles.  

At each of five stops, Scenes of
Crime Officer Louise Thornley explained what she had observed in October, 2008
and any differences since then. Questions were asked, answered and recorded by
a court reporter the same as if proceedings were in the courtroom.

The first stop was at the parking
lot where Estella was abducted after a birthday dinner with friends at Deckers.
Previous Caymanian Compass reports have indicated that her car was parked
behind Deckers, to the rear of the lot.  The
visit showed more precisely that Estella parked her car in the lot next to the
Deckers lot, behind Buckingham
Square, three spaces from the rear wall.

Ms Thornley explained how the area
had changed. She pointed to a line of trees between the two lots and said
several had since been cut down. She noted the stumps were still visible.

The court convoy continued to
Barkers and the beach area where a condom was found that linked Henry with
Estella. After stopping near another pathway to the beach, the group moved to
the site where Estella’s car was burned.

Charred marks were still visible
along with bits of broken glass and some blackened debris. An arrangement of
artificial flowers stood near where the front of the vehicle would have been.

Ms Thornley pointed out the fence
between the dead-end dyke road and The Shores development. She said vegetation
between the two had since been cut back significantly and a mound of earth on
The Shores’ side was different. Now people on one side could see over to the
other, but in October, 2008 she could not see over.

At ground level, she said, she
could not see the burnt car from The Shores.

The final stop was inside The
Shores, from which the group could look over to where Estella’s car was left. A
dyke separates the two areas.

LOCALscottrobertsSTORY

Estella Scott Roberts

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