Both get life in prison
Chief Justice Anthony Smellie found
Kirkland Henry and Larry Prinston Ricketts both guilty of murdering Estella
Scott Roberts on the night of 10 October 2008.
Although over 70 people had
gathered in Grand Court,
the verdicts occasioned no outbursts. After court adjourned and the convicted
men went downstairs into the cells, there were quiet tears and prolonged hugs as
Estella’s family and friends comforted each other one more time.
The Chief Justice has already
pronounced the sentence mandated by law – that the men be imprisoned for life.
He gave his reasons in a judgment that took over two hours to read,
However, Solicitor General Cheryll
Richards, who successfully prosecuted the case, noted that Henry had pleaded
guilty prior to trial to the abduction,
rape and robbery of their victim. Defence
Attorney Nicola Moore advised that a similar indictment is outstanding against
Ricketts, who pleaded not guilty to those same three charges.
The men are to return to court on
Friday, 5 March for those matters to be dealt with.
The Chief Justice in giving his
reasons noted that the verdicts had to be separate and he could not use Henry’s
account against Ricketts.
He summarised events of that Friday
night before the offences occurred, noting that Estella was celebrating her 33rd
birthday with female friends at Decker’s Restaurant, having already celebrated
with her husband two nights before. She was last seen walking toward the rear
of a car park furthest away from West
It was there she came “face to face
with terror,” the judge said, as she was abducted and then driven to an
isolated area of West
Bay where she was raped,
robbed, killed and had her body incinerated in her car.
Henry claimed not to have
participated in the murder and his lawyer interpreted Henry’s actions at the scene as withdrawal from the plan of
Instead, the judge said, by saying
“It’s up to you” and then standing there and watching, Henry was giving
implicit encouragement. He showed no remorse
about the fate of their victim; he
had the presence of mind to elicit her PIN number from her for her bank card.
Although he said he moved away when his accomplice burned Estella’s vehicle with
her body in it, he then waited until his accomplice caught up with him.
Further, Henry had taken a picture
of the victim that night; choosing
to keep the image conveyed no sense of withdrawal or objection
to her being killed.
Henry knew his accomplice had used
a knife to cut her hand at the beginning of the incident; he had to be aware
that serious bodily harm would probably result from their joint enterprise.
The evidence against Ricketts came
from his own signed statement to police and from inferences drawn. The Chief
Justice confirmed his earlier ruling that Ricketts’ statement was not concocted
by police. He pointed out that it contained information not known to police at
the time the statement was given.
Further, when questioned by Ms
Richards, he said he heard about some lady getting burned up in a vehicle at
Barkers. Ricketts said he heard that when he got to his job site on the
Saturday morning, 11 October, when he worked from 8am until 1pm.
But the vehicle was
not found until after noon that day. It was clear that Ricketts’ knowledge
could only have come from his own involvement, the Chief Justice said.