Man, friend get life imprisonment for killing Sophia teacher
DEAD: Simone Hackett
DEAD: Simone Hackett

SIX years after school teacher, Simone Hackett, was brutally murdered, the father of her son, Clevaughn Hamilton called ‘Quarters’, and his friend Ranchal Singh, were, on Monday, sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 35 years for their roles in the gruesome crime.

Earlier this month, Hamilton and Singh appeared before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the Demerara High Court for the capital offence of murder.

The men opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and admitted that, between April 16 and 19, 2016, at Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara, they unlawfully killed Hackett of ‘C’ Field, Sophia.

Attorney Alaira Murphy-Goodman represented Hamilton, while Singh was represented by Latchmie Rahamat. Prosecutor Muntaz Ali presented the State’s case.

During the sentencing hearing on Monday, Hackett’s family provided the court with an impact statement which was presented by her stepmother, Mala Mohabir-Hackett.

The woman said that even though six years have passed, the family still remembers the “cruel way” in which their loved one was brutally killed by the two men.

“Simone was a joy to be around. She was full of life and energy, and we loved being around her. She had the brightest, biggest smile. She had this unbelievable strength that would get her through anything and no matter what we were facing she always found a way to encourage us and support us. She was a pillar for us,” the woman said as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Jailed: Clevaughn Hamilton called ‘Quarters’

The grieving mother told the court that her stepdaughter’s goal in life was to provide for her son and give him the life that she never had.

“She lived for him; he was the centre of her world. She would do anything for her son. Whatever she had, it was his too. Her son has her bold spirit, her smile, her laughter, and her big heart,” she told the court.

The woman said that the family was still trying to cope and shield her 9-year-old grandson from the hurt and trauma.

“As he grows older, the stories we have tried to shield him from are becoming more real and he understands now what happened to her, why she is no longer here and who took her from him. He knows what happened and he is deeply affected by it.

“The scars are there. This child did not deserve this. He has so many questions and he has no desire to build a relationship with his father,” the elderly woman said.

Against this backdrop, she asked the court to impose the maximum penalty on the two men, especially Hamilton who had “robbed his own son of a life with his mother.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton told the court, “I wish to turn back the hands of time,” as he begged for a second chance so that he can be a better father to his children.

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Kissoon told the court that the duo’s actions on that day demonstrated scant regard for the sanctity of life.

Jailed: Ranchal Singh

The judge spoke of “the prevalence and unprecedented wave of violence against women by men which rages on unchecked and rampant.” He said that society demands a sufficiently severe penalty to bring a screeching halt to such a “depraved” criminal conduct.

The next aggravating factor the judge considered was the level of “immeasurable cruelty” that the victim endured at the hands of the two men, leaving a young child to grow without the guidance and comfort of a mother.

He was keen to point out that the mitigating aspects cannot take away from the gravity of the offence committed and no credit will be given to them for their plea.

“The accused are the architects, and the executioners of this bastard, cruel and brutal murder, which they conceived, conceptualised, and carried out…,” he said.

In arriving at an appropriate sentence, Justice Kissoon considered the aggravating and mitigating factors.

“The prevalence and frequency of this offense and crimes of this nature, un-updated in our society, is of great concern to the judiciary, and to this court. One of the fundamental principles of sentencing is that the safety, security and well-being of all citizens and in particular, women, mothers, spouses, daughters are the paramount overriding consideration at all times,” the judge said.

As such, Justice Kissoon added that the violence perpetrated by the accused must be condemned in the strongest possible way. He then imposed the life sentence.

Hamilton and Singh will become eligible for parole after serving 35 years in prison.

The mother of one was reported missing by relatives on April 17, 2016, after she failed to return home after going to collect a package.

According to reports, during the evening of April 16, 2016, Singh and Hamilton, picked up the woman from UG Access Road.

The court heard that Hackett was taken further down the said road, and was killed in the backseat of the vehicle by Hamilton. She was then dumped in a nearby trench by the pair.

The men fled the area and later travelled to Mahdia. Hackett’s body was discovered by two boys on their way to school and was positively identified by relatives.

The report of the post-mortem performed on Hackett indicated that she died as a result of incised wounds to the neck.

Singh was detained after his bloodstained vehicle was found. Hamilton was later arrested and confessed to the crime.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All our printed editions are available online
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.