–for senseless 2014 murder of female taxi driver
SYLVESTER Bristol, called “Rambo”, was on Tuesday sentenced to 16 years imprisonment, minus time served, for the 2014 murder of female taxi driver, Savitri Palmer.
An expressionless Bristol stood in the dock and told Justice Navindra Singh that try as he might, he cannot remember what transpired on the day in question, but begged for mercy.
Justice Singh told the court that in arriving at his decision, he took into consideration Bristol’s early plea.
What he couldn’t understand, however, was Bristol’s reluctance to talk about what happened, and why he did what he did, considering that he was gainfully employed at the time he committed the offence.
In his plea of mitigation, defence attorney George Thomas told the court, among other things, that while on remand, the accused was a model prisoner; that he did not get into any conflict with his fellow inmates or prison authorities.
He had also worked in the kitchen, and had surrendered himself during both prison fires at the Camp Street Prison, and cooperated with prison officials.
Thomas asked, too, that the judge take into account that the accused has shown remorse, and chose not to waste the court’s time and used the opportunity to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
He related that the accused has already spent four years in jail, and he has accepted what he did and asked for the minimum sentence.
In response, State Prosecutor Tiffini Lyken asked the court to give the maximum sentence, since the deceased has two young children who are left without a mother.
She stated that the gruesome way in which the act was committed needs to be considered and the fact that when the act was committed a young child was nearby.
The State’s case is that between February 15 and 16, 2014, Bristol allegedly murdered Palmer, called “Maya”, in the County of Demerara.
Palmer’s nude body was reportedly discovered at Yarrowkabra, on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, with marks of violence. She was last seen alive on February 15, 2014. Lyken related that a post-mortem ruled that the cause of death as ligature strangulation.
The accused was arrested when some of the deceased’s personal belongings were found in his possession. And while in custody, he gave a caution statement in which he admitted having sex with the deceased, before strangling her and running away from the crime scene.
According to the prosecutor, he later pleaded not guilty to murder but to the lesser count of manslaughter, a plea that was accepted by Justice Singh on Tuesday afternoon.
Palmer’s body was discovered in a clump of bushes some two miles from where her vehicle had been found at the back of a resort on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.
The 31-year-old woman reportedly left her Soesdyke home at around 20:30hrs on February 15, 2014 with the intention of dropping two persons at a loam pit in Timehri, and had taken along her eight-year-old son for the ride.
The child was found sleeping in the rear seat of the abandoned vehicle hours later by his father, Kissoon Palmer, who had decided to go in search of his wife when she failed to return home.