Girlfriend pleads guilty to manslaughter

The girlfriend of a Little Cayman businessman who was killed late last year wept in court Monday as she entered a plea of guilty to manslaughter. 

Elsy Patricia Calderon de Ortega Barralga said she had acted in self-defense. 

Perry Steven McLaughlin’s body was found on his kitchen floor on the morning of Nov. 2, 2013, with seven stab wounds and 21 minor injuries. 

According to the autopsy report, stab wounds to the chest were the cause of death. 

Barralga pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter when she appeared before Justice Charles Quin in Grand Court. 

In statements read by Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards, the court heard that Barralga ran to the couple’s neighbors for help on the night of the attack but did not inform them that Mr. McLaughlin was injured. She told them he was “crazy and wanted to kill her” before she vomited and fell asleep.  

Justice Quin heard that Mr. McLaughlin, 54, had become angry after a night out when he had “been drinking heavily” and had punched Barralga in the head five times before pushing her to the ground and causing a sprained ankle. She had multiple soft tissue injuries and bruising to her scalp and cuts on her feet. The court was also told Mr. McLaughlin had tried to attack her with two knives. 

In a statement, Barralga told the court she escaped through the laundry room window and ran for help. Evidence presented to the court stated there was no sign of anyone leaving through a window and that the defendant’s footprints were found at the door. 

It was said she appeared confused when she found out Mr. McLaughlin was dead. 

In a statement read out in court by Ms. Richards, Barralga was quoted as saying, “I swear to God he was alive when I left. I didn’t kill him, I swear.” 

Maura McGowan, QC, representing defense attorney Prathna Bodden, said Barralga “admits causing the fatal injuries to the deceased” and “lost respectable self-control.” 

Comments are closed.