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'Phantom Burglar' gets 15 years

Published:Saturday | June 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Garfield Roper, the man described by police investigators as the 'Phantom Burglar' who preyed on residents of upper St Andrew for nearly a decade, was yesterday sentenced to 15 years at hard labour for the 2010 killing of a Chinese businessman.

Roper's sentence comes just over a month after he was found guilty of manslaughter arising from the death of Raymond Wong Chew-Onn inside his Norbrook, St Andrew, home in September 2010.


Justice Martin Gayle ordered that 42-year-old Roper serves 12 years before he is eligible for parole.

"A man's home is his castle. You invaded this man's [Chew-Onn] property, and you not only invaded his property, you also took his life," Gayle said before handing down his sentence.

Prosecutors Maxine Jackson and Angela Muir led evidence that Roper became impatient and used a metal pipe to strike Chew-Onn over his head twice because the businessman was taking too long to fall asleep. According to prosecutors, Roper then made off with two BlackBerry cell phones and a laptop computer.


During the trial, the court heard evidence that the items were sold for $35,000.

Roper's attorney, Tamika Harris, in appealing for leniency, noted that from the outset, her client expressed remorse for his actions.

"I interpret that to mean that it bothered his conscience. It is apparent that from his arrest, Mr Roper was bothered by the incident," Harris told the court.

"I know a life has been lost and I know that there has to be a penalty for that, but locking up Mr Roper and throwing away the key is not going to bring back that life," she pleaded.