Says he was not involved in crime
Larry Prinston Ricketts took the
stand on Wednesday and said under oath that he was not involved in the abduction, robbery, rape and murder of Estella Scott
He told Chief Justice Anthony
Smellie, attorneys and a gallery of almost 30 people, that he was not with co-accused
Kirkland Henry on the night of 10 October, 2008.
That is the night friends last saw
Estella as she walked to her car after a birthday dinner.
Henry has pleaded guilty to abduction, robbery and rape, but not guilty to murder.
In his statements to police he said he did not kill Estella. He said Ricketts
did it and then set her vehicle on fire with her body inside.
After Solicitor General Cheryll
Richards QC closed the case for the prosecution, Henry’s attorney said he did
not intend to call any evidence. Henry did not take the stand.
Robert Fortune QC then called
Ricketts to give evidence. After answering questions from Mr. Fortune, the
defendant was cross-examined by Ian Bourne QC on behalf of Henry, and by Ms
Richards on behalf of the Crown.
Ricketts said he was born in Clarendon, Jamaica,
and attended a vocational high school where he gained qualifications in maths,
mechanical technology and technical drawing with two C grades and one B.
Now 27, Ricketts said he first came
to Cayman in 2004, before Hurricane Ivan and was doing some landscaping. After
the storm, he did landscaping, then washed cars at a rental place and then
started doing construction.
He had different permits for
different companies. He said he was obliged to go back to Jamaica, but returned to Cayman on
23 February 2008. The court has already heard that a work permit applicant for
him was refused in September 2008 and he was allowed to stay until 30 October,
Ricketts said he met Henry about
Ricketts told the court, he rode
his bicycle to Royal Palms to have a few beers and chill out on the night of 10
October. He went alone; he had not arranged to meet Henry. He arrived around
8pm or five after. He did not meet anybody he knew. He left around 10pm and got
home around 10.30pm.
Around 2am he received a call from
Henry that lasted seven seconds, according to phone records. Ricketts said he
was asleep and didn’t know who was calling until he saw his phone screen when
he woke up at 5.30am.
He left for work at 5.50am and rode
his bicycle to town, where he would get a bus to West Bay.
He said he saw Henry near the post office. Henry told him he had found a credit
card and asked if Ricketts could assist him with it because Henry didn’t know
how to use an ATM machine.
Ricketts said he told Henry he would
assist and they went to Bay Shore Mall where Ricketts tried to use the card but
did not succeed. They then went to Cayman National Bank on Elgin Avenue. Henry gave him a piece of
paper with a number on it, but it did not work.
Mr. Fortune asked if Ricketts
wondered whether Henry had any right to use the card, or was he stealing.
Ricketts replied, “At the time I was just giving him some assistance. I never
really think about his right.” The card was used between 6.29-6.31am and all
Ricketts said he gave the card and
paper back to Henry. They were together about a half hour. Then Ricketts took a
bus and went to work at a construction
site in Northwest Point, arriving minutes to 8am.
Computer and phone
Phone records showed that Henry
called Ricketts three times between 8 and 8.10am. Ricketts said Henry was asking
how to access a laptop.
Henry phoned him two more times
that day, but Ricketts did not remember what it was about. He said he worked
until 1pm and went to town for a shave. Coming from the barber he saw Henry,
who said the computer was not working. Ricketts walked to Henry’s house and
showed him how to access the computer.
They talked and Henry told him he
had found two Blackberry phones. Henry asked if Ricketts wanted to buy one for
$300. Ricketts said he couldn’t pay $300 because the battery was dying and he
didn’t know if it would work. So he paid him $200.
Ricketts acknowledged being
arrested on 27 October. He was detained overnight and spoken to the next day by
Inspector Donovan Bailey. He said Mr. Bailey did not tell him anything about
his right to have a lawyer.
Mr. Fortune pointed out that
Ricketts’ interview contained what – if true – amounted to admissions of taking
part in the abduction and murder of Estella
Scott Roberts. The interview had Ricketts’ signature at the bottom of each
Ricketts admitted signing and initialling
the interview. But he said he had been told he was just assisting police with
their inquiry and the interview was a police procedure they were following. He
said he was told if he agreed with what was in the interview it would show he
was not lying, he was cooperating.
Last week, the Chief Justice held a
special hearing to determine whether Ricketts’ interview should be admitted
into evidence. On Monday he concluded that it should.
The judge pointed out that the
ultimate test was fairness. In the special hearing, Ricketts had maintained
that what was written in the interview was contrived by the officers. Further,
implausible though it seemed, Ricketts alleged that Mr. Bailey told him, “If I
agreed, he would probably let me go and not charge me.”
The judge pointed out that by the
time the interview took place, Ricketts had been advised several times of his
right to an attorney. When Ricketts testified, it was clear he was intelligent –
he must have been aware of the consequences of his statement.
Finally, when a representative of
the Jamaican Consulate visited him, he did not complain about not having an attorney.
Surely that would have been one person he could have trusted, the judge said.
Before Ricketts’ evidence concluded
on Wednesday, his attorney asked for an exhibit to be allowed into evidence. It
was an unopened Durex condom found at Ricketts’ residence. Mr. Fortune said the
point was that it was a different type of Durex condom from what had been found
at the alleged scene of the rape. That condom contained DNA that linked Henry
Ms Richards was still questioning
Ricketts when court resumed Thursday.