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Proctor gets four years

Published:Wednesday | February 3, 2010 | 2:00 AM

Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter



Proctor

There were mixed emotions yesterday as 89-year-old world-famous botanist Dr George Proctor was sentenced to four years' imprisonment each for conspiracy to murder his wife and three other women who lived at the Proctors' house.

Proctor's co-accused, Glenmore Fillington, 44, of Lyn Avenue, Christiana, Manchester was sen-tenced to six years' imprisonment each on the four counts.

The sentences are to run concurrently so Proctor will serve four years, while Fillington will serve six years.

Despite pleas from character witnesses, including Dr Easton Lowe, that Proctor would not survive if he were sent to prison, Supreme Court Judge Gloria Smith said she could not accede to a non-custodial sentence, because the offences were serious.

Proctor, an American who had been living and working in Jamaica since 1949, wept when he heard the sentence. Fillington threw himself on the floor in the dock and wept.

"He should have thought of the consequences," one of Proctor's daughters said in response to comments from Proctor's friends that the sentence was harsh.

Prosecutors Dirk Harrison and Sanchia Burrell led evidence at the trial in the Home Circuit Court that, between February and April 2006, the men conspired to murder 69-year-old Leila Campbell Proctor and the three women. Dr Proctor had asked Fillington, his driver, to get someone to murder his wife for $100,000 and Fillington got Walden Simpson, who informed the police of the plot.

Fun-loving nature

In response to the character evidence given by Lowe, Professor Helen Jacobs, publisher Valerie Facey, journalist John Maxwell and botanist Tracy Commock, the judge said she was not going to downplay the importance of Dr Proctor's career internationally or nationally, his zest for living, his fun-loving nature, or his willingness to listen and serve, but that there had to be a balance.

The judge said she also took into account the mitigation pleas made by Tom Tavares-Finson, who represented Dr Proctor, and Vincent Wellesley who represented Fillington.

barbara.gayle@gleanerjm.com