Mon | Jan 27, 2020

‘Justice has been served’ - Relative of beheaded women gets closure

Published:Thursday | December 12, 2019 | 12:29 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

The imposition of life sentences on the four men convicted of the 2011 murders of a St Catherine mother and her daughter has given closure to at least one family member who believes “justice has been served in this one”.

Adrian Campbell, 37, and Fabian Smith, 33, were ordered to serve 44 years for each count of murder before being eligible for parole, while Roshane Goldson, 28, must serve a minimum of 46 years. The fourth man, Kemar Riley, 29, who was convicted after a three-week trial, will become eligible for parole after 52 years.

The men will serve their respective sentences for each count concurrently.

A fifth accused, Sanja Ducally, a former assistant teacher at the St Catherine Primary School, was freed on November 20 after the court upheld a no-case submission.

“I can speak for myself and it has. It has offered closure. I’m still not satisfied with one walking. I still think he should be behind bars, but for the rest, it gives them time to meditate ... .

“So I give them more time to look back at what they’ve done, look at the lives that they have shattered and their own lives, ‘cause them mess up their own lives. They blighted their own future,” said the relative yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Gleaner moments after the sentences were handed down.

Despite the passage of time since July 20, 2011, when the men invaded the Lauriston, St Catherine, home of 40-year-old Charmaine, ‘Gloria’ Cover-Rattray and her 18-year-old daughter, Joeith ‘Chrystal’ Lynch, chopping, shooting, and subsequently beheading them, the relative explained that the family still mourns.

“We’ll always be grieving because Chrystal was loved ... , people loved Gloria, so we’ll always be grieving when birthdays, when Christmas, when whatever. We’ll always remember her,” said the relative, who also delivered a victim impact statement before the sentence was handed down.

Aggravating factor

In the victim statement, the relative, who cannot be named or the sex identified because of a court order, described how the killing of Cover-Rattray and her daughter continued to affect the family.

During the sentencing proceedings, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, who was the lead prosecutor during the trial, said the aggravating factor outweighed the mitigating ones.

“They totally overwhelm and neutralise anything that could mitigate the sentence,” the DPP said. “[It] took them seven years [until] they were minded to show that aspect of remorse that a guilty plea would herald.”

She described the murder as a “sinister execution, total and horrific breach of the human rights of Joeith and her mother”.

Defence attorneys for Campbell, Smith, and Goldson cited their respective client’s lack of a criminal record and guilty pleas as mitigating factors, while the attorney for Riley said that his client, though not accepting responsibility for the crime, seemingly expressed remorse for the murders’ impact on the community.

Trial judge Justice Vivene Harris, in handing down the sentences, considered aggravating factors such as the carriage of weapons and the horrific way in which the women were killed, citing that there was no case in the local Court of Appeal that spoke to beheading that she could use to guide her decision.

Justice Harris also indicated that she abandoned the sentencing guidelines as it would “outrage and shock the public conscience”.

She also considered mitigating factors such as the men’s lack of prior convictions as well as the time already spent behind bars since their 2011 arrests.