‘I fought for my life; they were going to kill me’
Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry
Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry

-says mentally ill man jailed for killing brother


A DEMERARA High Court Judge, on Thursday, ordered a mentally ill man to serve a minimum of eight years in prison for killing his younger brother at their home in May 2020.

Earlier this month, Wensley Williams, also known as “Pooh Bear,” 45, of Grove, East Bank Demerara (EBD), was found guilty of killing his brother, Cleveland Hodge, 39, a father of three.

He had been on trial before Demerara High Court Judge Priya Sewnarine-Beharry and a jury. The jurors also determined that he was “insane” at the time he committed the crime.

Williams started selling marijuana and cocaine in his 30s and developed mental instability, according to information presented at his sentencing hearing on Thursday.

Jailed: Wensley Williams

Williams was characterised as “troublesome and a menace” by neighbours in his community, according to the probation officer. The probation officer related that a few of them voiced concern that if Williams was released from prison, they would have to leave the neighbourhood.

Williams told the probation officer that, on the day in question, he was attacked by his brother and another man, who were armed with a cutlass and a piece of wood.

“I’m sorry about how this has worked out. That day, I fought for my life because they were going to kill me,” he stated in his address to the trial Judge.

Despite everything, he apologised for his actions and said he hoped to be freed from prison eventually so he could care for his deceased brother’s children.

Hodge’s father, who is also Williams’s stepfather, revealed in a victim impact statement how much his son’s passing has affected him and how he is still in shock. The elderly man said that Hodge was his “favourite son” and the family’s only breadwinner. He demanded that the murderer be put behind bars because he did not want him to be around his grandchildren.


In her plea in mitigation on Williams’s behalf, attorney Candaice Adams called the circumstances “sad and unfortunate,” pointing out that a life was taken in a senseless manner.

Nevertheless, she pleaded with the court to take into account a variety of factors in determining an appropriate sentence, such as her client’s previous clean criminal record, his expression of remorse, and the fact that he is a well-behaved prisoner who was appointed an orderly for his dormitory.

Attorney Adams asserted that her client “didn’t know what he was doing” on the fateful day, but she also said that her client will recover if placed in a controlled environment.

She said, too, that he understood the consequences of his actions.

State Counsel Joy Williams, for her part, noted that the deceased individual had been stabbed five times and had been denied the opportunity to lead a prosperous and fulfilling life.

She said that Hodge was among the only people that made sure Wensley got the mental health care he needed. She submitted that Hodge’s children are now deprived of their father’s love.

Attorney Williams contended that the imposition of a jail sentence is necessary to convey to potential perpetrators that society will not tolerate the act of unlawful homicide.

She said that in addition to protecting the society from individuals like Wensley, sentencing policies should also aim to give him help for his rehabilitation.

He was sentenced to a minimum of eight years in jail by Justice Sewnarine-Beharry after she was convinced that he needed to be confined in a safe place for the public’s and his own safety, and that there was none available outside of the Guyana Prison Service (GPS).

In addition, Judge Sewnarine-Beharry gave the GPS several instructions regarding the convicted murderer’s welfare. He has to continue receiving mental health evaluations and treatments, be exposed to skill-training, and have individualised therapy sessions from the Prison Service.

Murdered: Cleveland Hodge

Crucially, starting in February 2026, the offender will be summoned before the High Court for a periodic review every two years.

A number of documents must be provided to the Judge at each review, including a report on his behaviour while incarcerated, his response to counselling or rehabilitative programmes, and records of his attendance, involvement, and performance in programmes run by the GPS.

The convict will be released from detention under terms the court determines appropriate after the court is satisfied that he is prepared for reintegration into society.

State Counsel Caressa Henry and Padma Dubraj assisted in the prosecution of the case. Wensley Williams’s other lawyer was Jevon Cox.


Hodge, also known as “Bruk Up”, a gold miner, was stabbed multiple times on May 21, 2020 by brother. At the time of the incident, Wensley was mentally ill and a patient of the psychiatric clinic.

The Guyana Chronicle understands that around 15:10hrs on the day in question, Hodge saw his brother with a knife in his possession and approached him in an effort to prevent him from harming himself.

As Hodge got closer, Wensley slashed him on both his elbows as Hodge tried to prevent him from leaving the home. He then slashed Hodge to his left shoulder and under his right arm. Public-spirited citizens came to Hodge’s assistance and he was rushed to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre (DDC) where he was admitted, treated for his injuries and was sent away the same day.

However, while Hodge was home, just after midnight, he complained of feeling unwell and was again taken to the DDC where he was readmitted and was later transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). He died at 13:39 hours on May 22, 2020.



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