AN unremorseful 34-year-old Ronald Armstrong called “Sargie,” was, on Monday, given two life sentences for brutally raping and robbing a 20-year-old woman in 2013 during a home invasion.
Armstrong, formerly of Friendship, East Bank Demerara, was sentenced by Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Sexual Offences Court of the Demerara High Court.
Last month, a 12-member jury found Armstrong guilty of rape and robbery.
On January 22, 2013, in the county of Demerara, he engaged in sexual penetration of the victim and also stole the woman’s jewellery and other valuables from her home.
The state’s case was presented by prosecutors Cicelia Corbin, Caressa Henry, and Paneeta Persaud. Armstrong was represented by attorney-at-law Everton Singh-Lammy.
While delivering her sentencing remarks on Monday, the judge told the court that, among other things, she considered that Armstrong showed no remorse for his actions and the psychological trauma the victim endured.
Justice Sewnarine-Beharry said that the aggravating factors of the case outweighed the mitigating factor. Among other things, the judge said that Armstrong lacked genuine remorse and had maintained his innocence.
She told the court that not only did Armstrong commit the crime while on bail for armed robbery, but he used a deadly weapon in the commission of the robbery and rape.
The judge, after taking into consideration the nature and prevalence of the offence, sentenced Armstrong to serve life imprisonment for the rape and robbery committed on the victim.
He is currently serving a four-year sentence for aggravated robbery, which prompted the judge to order that the two life sentences commence after he completes that sentence.
Previously, the victim, in her impact statement, said that she was left to live with the stigma associated with sex crimes and was still suffering from the trauma of the incident.
According to the woman, when the trial commenced it reopened old wounds, even though she thought it would have brought her a sense of relief.
“I felt as though a volcano erupted with burning rage inside of me. That night every emotion that I had suppressed and everything that I did not allow myself to feel on that horrible night and the days after, came rushing back to me all at once,” she said.
The rape survivor said that even though Armstrong raped her almost a decade ago, she is still haunted by the memories of that day and she was forced to relive every moment of it.
“For years I was angry at myself, I blamed myself, I questioned everything I did and didn’t do, every action, every thought, every gesture, every word spoken and unspoken. I never blamed the person responsible and who deserves to be blamed, that person is you! I finally allowed myself to be angry at you,” the woman said to her rapist.
The woman provided a heart-wrenching account of how she was left with the dreadful memories of the attack; one which Armstrong has denied committing.
“The memory of the weight of your body pinning mine down, the scent of your odoriferous cologne, the rough sensation of your unshaven chin rubbing my ears and neck raw as you slammed your hips against mine and forced yourself into me…these are things I can never forget. You were so calm, as if you were doing nothing wrong.
You stuffed my mouth full with cloth and still kept your hand tight on my head while pointing that gun at my baby and you continued to shush me. At least once, I was trying so hard to get away from you, one ounce of retaliation, but I couldn’t. I felt like I died that night. A piece of me did die that night,” the survivor said.
The woman said that Armstrong forcefully took her dignity away and described him as a “weak-minded, weak-willed, deranged sadistic monster” who is a “pitiful excuse of a human being.”
“I wish you a very long life in jail Ronald Armstrong,” the victim said to her rapist as she told the court that she had started rebuilding her life and had begun improving herself and moving on.
According to reports, on the day in question, the victim was at home with her baby and sister when Armstrong and two other men broke in.
She was held at knifepoint by Armstrong, who demanded she handed over her valuables or he would hurt her baby.
The woman complied and handed over all her jewellery. Armstrong then took the victim into her bedroom and raped her. During the ordeal, the victim lost consciousness, the court heard.
She was later awakened by her sister after the men left the house. The matter was reported and Armstrong was arrested.
Armstrong is no stranger to the law. In 2014 he was sentenced to 50 months in jail for smuggling contraband into the prison.