A 52-year-old man who pleaded guilty last month to fatally stabbing his reputed wife was Tuesday handed a 10-year jail sentence by Essequibo High Court Judge Jo Ann Barlow.
Initially indicted for the murder of 39-year-old mother of six, Farida Khayum, Devanand Narine had opted to plead guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
The incident took place on May 19, 2019, at Lot 9 Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast. Khayum, who was employed as a domestic worker, had just returned home and was preparing to head out back to a wedding house, when she and her husband, who was said to be under the influence of alcohol, got into a heated argument.
Narine then went into the kitchen, armed himself with a knife and dealt his partner 15 stabs about her body. He then went into a room and consumed a bottle of weedicide. Both he and the woman were rushed to the hospital where the woman was pronounced dead on arrival. Khayum, who was stabbed in the presence of her youngest son, died as a result of shock and multiple incised wounds.
During a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, the dead woman’s sons cried out for justice for their mother. They said that they miss her a lot and that their lives have not been the same since her passing. Khayum’s youngest son said that he would never forget what he saw and that he constantly reimagines the incident.
Narine, who appeared in court via Zoom, said: “I would like to apologise for my actions which have caused the loss of a life. I should have walked away. But at the time, it was so hard after seeing my wife with another [man]. I would like to say sorry to my family. May the Lord have mercy upon me through this court…”
A probation report revealed that Narine, who has no previous brushes with the law, is a well-behaved prisoner who was baptised and became a member of the Prisoner of Hope group during his incarceration. According to the probation officer, from all indications, it appeared as though the couple shared a happy relationship.
Justice Barlow, in her sentencing remarks, noted that domestic violence-related murders will not be condoned by the court.
Among the aggravating factors, she considered were the number of injuries the woman received and the fact that she was stabbed in front of her child. Justice Barlow explained that the court accepted a plea to the lesser count because it believed that alcohol consumption played a part in Narine committing the crime.
In the end, Narine was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment from which the prison authority was ordered to deduct the time he has already spent in pre-trial custody.
The court further ordered that he undergo counselling tailored for persons convicted of violent crimes. Justice Barlow also instructed that the woman’s children be exposed to counselling since according to her, the closure will not come until they are at a place where they can accept the loss of their mother.
Narine was represented by Attorney-at-Law Latchmie Dindyal, while State Counsel Tiffini Lyken presented the case for the prosecution.