Man handed life sentence for murder of British teen

Staymon George, one of the two men accused of the October 2015 murder of British teenager, Dominic Bernard was on Wednesday sentenced to life in prison by Justice Sandil Kissoon. The sentence comes two weeks after the 30-year-old man confessed to the crime by entering a guilty plea to a murder charge.

George called ‘Sherwin’, along with Aaron Hing called ‘Neutral’, 31 were initially charged with the murder of Dominic Bernard called ‘Dom’, 18, in January 2016. Hing is Dominic Bernard’s godbrother.

However, on October 14, 2021, George pleaded guilty to the murder indictment presented against him by Special Prosecutor  Attorney-at-law Latchmie Rahamat at the High Court in Berbice.  Dominic Bernard had travelled from England to Guyana on October 14, 2015, to visit his godbrother.

However, his father was unable to make contact with him after he left the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). Worried about his son, the older Bernard travelled to Guyana. On January 8, 2016, Dominic’s Bernard decomposed body was found in the backlands at Nurney, Corentyne, Berbice.

DNA tests confirmed that the body was indeed his remains. It was reported that the teen was bludgeoned hours after he arrived in Guyana. The teen was then buried in a shallow grave that was dug days before he landed in the South American nation.

Dominic Bernard had travelled here to pursue his film-making career.

During a sentencing hearing on Monday, Dominic Bernard’s mother, Linda described her son as a well-loved and kind individual. Joining the proceedings via Zoom from England, Linda fondly referred to her late son as ‘Dom’ and said that he was very protective of his younger sisters.

She said that her son was excited to come to Guyana to visit his godbrother as he was expecting to go on adventures. The woman said that she was unable to recognised her son’s remains given the decomposed state of his body.  “I hugged his coffin and cried many tears. I was in so much grief. But I am very grateful that  I was able to bring him home. I am very grateful for the 18 years I was able to spend with Dominic.”

The grieving mother cried intermittently as she read from her victim impact statement. She related that her late son and Hing were like “brothers”.

The woman related that her son’s death has taken a toll on her mental health and she regrets not being there to protect him. Andrew Bernard, Dominic’s father said the life of his “one and only son” was cut short. “No son should die before his father and grandfather. He was my baby boy,” Andrew cried.

He added, “My son’s death has left many family members traumatised. Dominic’s mother and I divorced shortly after his death. I am forever tormented for allowing him to board that plane….these nightmares will haunt me for the rest of my life.”  The man said that his son was betrayed by someone he trusted.

The grieving father who could not hold back tears said that whatever sentence the court imposes on George will never “match the life sentence” his family is left to face. He nevertheless expressed that he is grateful that one of his son’s killers has been brought to justice.

“I am very sorry for what happened. I am asking for forgiveness,” George, the confessed killer, cried.

During his sentencing remarks, Justice Kissoon described Dominic Bernard’s murder as “heinous, diabolical, cold-blooded, inhumane and brutal.” The Judge pointed out that no human ought to be made to endure what Dominic Bernard endured while he was in Guyana to film the beautiful country.

In the mind of Justice Kissoon, there were no mitigating factors that could serve to dilute the aggravating factors. Among the aggravating factors, the Judge noted were the use of extreme violence, the level of premeditation, and the use of a weapon. In the end, George was handed the life sentence.

He is only eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 35 years behind bars. The confessed killer was given credit for the time he spent in pre-trial custody; he was represented by lawyer Ravindra Mohabir.

Meanwhile, two women and a man are expected to go on trial at a later date for helping Hing and George murder the British teenager.

The trio- Krystal Thomas, called ‘Kathy’, 28, Jahmeil Sinclair, called ‘Fross’, or ‘Bacchus’, 27, and Sinfine Henry, called ‘Coreen,’ 47, are charged with accessory to murder. They were each released on $300,000 bail pending the hearing and determination of their trial.