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Child father, accomplice who killed woman and dumped her in trench, get life sentence

A 44-year-old gold miner who had a dispute with the mother of his child over the custody of their son, and his accomplice, were each handed a life sentence on Monday for killing the woman and dumping her body in an East Coast Demerara (ECD) trench.

Clevaughn Hamilton c/d ‘Quarters’, and 43-year-old Ranachal Singh c/d ‘Andy’, both of Mahaicony, ECD were arraigned earlier this month before Demerara High Court Judge Sandil Kissoon for the murder of Sophia, Greater Georgetown woman, Simone Hackett.

While Singh pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter, Hamilton pleaded guilty to the capital offence of murder. As such they were both remanded to prison pending sentencing.

Hackett, 25, a mother of one of ‘C’ Field Sophia, Greater Georgetown and Hamilton were involved in a relationship which produced a son. At the time of her death in April 2016, the couple had separated but had a dispute over the custody of their now nine-year-old child.

On April 16, 2016, Hamilton contacted Singh, a taxi driver, to transport him to Hackett whom they had lured to the University of Guyana (UG) Access Road, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown.

In luring the woman, Singh called her pretending to be “Dexter”, a man she would usually collect items sent for her son by Hamilton.

At UG Road, Hackett entered the back seat of Singh’s car. Singh then drove off with Hamilton, whom he had known for several years, and the woman. While in the vehicle, Hamilton held on to the mother of his child and stabbed her several times before slashing her throat.

Singh and Hamilton then stopped at a bushy concrete bridge where the former dragged Hackett’s body out of the car and dumped it in a nearby trench. He also disposed of the murder weapon there. After the gruesome act, the men drove to Mahdia, Region Eight.

According to the prosecution’s facts, on their way there, Hamilton caused Singh to stop the car at a canal on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) where he, Hamilton used his shirt that he had soaked in water to wipe out some of the bloodstains from inside of the car.

Three days later on April 19, 2016, two schoolboys found Hackett’s decomposing body in a trench between Third and Fourth streets, Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown.

Her body bore 12 incised wounds. Hamilton, who was arrested the following day by the Police, gave a caution statement outlining the role he played in the woman’s brutal murder.

Sentencing hearing

In their address to the court, both Hamilton and Singh pleaded with the Judge for leniency. Hamilton said: “I am really sorry for what I have done. I wish I could turn it around.”

Singh, on the other hand, related, “I am very sorry for the death of Simone Hackett. I wish to sincerely apologise to the family of Simone Hackett.”

Hackett’s relatives remembered her as a “joy to be around”.

According to one relative, she was full of energy and had the “brightest, and biggest smile”. The relatives related that the now dead woman’s son continues to bombard them with questions about his mother’s whereabouts.

They asked Justice Kissoon to impose the maximum penalty allowed under the law, since the two killers, whom they described as “monsters” and “animals”, did not only take away their loved one but the person who was the pillar of their family.

For his part, Justice Kissoon, in his sentencing remarks, told the killers that their actions were a deliberate, calculated, cruel and brutal act of murder committed on a young mother who was in the midst of planning a celebration for her son’s birthday.

While Singh maintained that he was not at fault for the woman’s murder, Justice Kissoon told him that he is equally responsible for the woman’s death since he aided and abetted Hamilton.

“Communities after communities within our small nation of less than one million people are being confronted with brutal killing of wives, women, mothers and children in an unparallel and unprecedented wave of domestic and intimate partner violence,” the Judge noted.

Considering this, he said that this situation needs urgent condign intervention. Given the serious nature of the offence and the multitude of aggravating factors, Justice Kissoon sentenced each of the men to life in prison with the possibility of being paroled after 35 years.

Hamilton and Singh were respectively represented by Attorneys-at-Law Alaira Murphy-Goodman and Latchmie Rahamat.

The prosecution’s case was led by State Counsel Muntaz Ali, in association with State Counsel Taneisha Sagon.