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Appeal court upholds life sentences for man who knifed his 3 children to death

The Guyana Court of Appeal on Monday upheld the life sentences imposed on John Blanchard for the October 2016 killing of his three children.ย  10-year-old Belika George, four-year-old Daniel Blanchard, and six-year-old Joy Blanchard were stabbed to death.

Initially charged with the murder of his children, in 2016, Blanchard appeared before High Court Judge Jo Ann Barlow and pleaded guilty to the offence of manslaughter. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on each count. The judge ordered that he is only eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 30 years.

John Blanchard, through his lawyer Mark Conway, later moved to the Court of Appeal arguing that the sentence was manifestly excessive. However, after analysing the evidence in the case, Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards did not agree with this contention.

Justice Cummings-Edwards held that the imposition of a life sentence on each of the three counts of manslaughter was fair having regard to the circumstances of the case. According to the Chancellor, the children were knifed to death in their sleep because of no fault of their own.

Justice Cummings-Edwards said that at the time of the killings, John Blanchard was angry at his wife, Onica Blanchard, the childrenโ€™s mother. The Chancellor said that John Blanchard became angry after the woman had refused to return home Mahdia where she was working.

In retaliation, he armed himself with a knife and cutlass and went after his sleeping children, who he repeatedly stabbed about their body. The incident occurred atย Charles Sand Road, Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara.ย John Blanchard had claimed that he loved his children dearly and did not know what could have caused him to kill them.

As a consequence, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.