A St Philip man has admitted to killing Laurette Diana Skeete almost five years ago, but said he didn’t mean to take her life.
“I was frustrated and fed up,” Anthony Frederick Francis said in a statement to police after he was arrested following Skeete’s death in August 2012.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter when he appeared before Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius recently.
Francis, who was 47 years old at the time, was charged with causing Skeete’s death sometime between August 3 and 4.
Skeete’s body was found by her daughter Sherie Lewis on August 4, 2012 at their Marchfield Close residence, with a cord around the neck.
Senior Crown Counsel Anthony Blackman told the No. 5 Supreme Court that Lewis last saw her mother alive early on August 3.
In the early hours of August 4, she knocked on the door of the house and called out to her mother but got no reply.
Francis later opened the door and Lewis questioned him about her mother’s whereabouts, asking whether she was asleep. Francis replied that Skeete was, and Lewis went to her own bedroom.
Later that day, while still at home, Lewis called her mother’s cell phone but the call went to voicemail and she began worry.
She went into the living room and realized that her mother’s shoes were still at the door.
Lewis then entered her mother’s bedroom and found her body on the floor covered with a bed sheet.
She raised the alarm and neighbours went to her assistance. Police were alerted.
The prosecutor said investigations were conducted and Francis was taken into custody.
“Officer, yes I am responsible. . . . I don’t need a lawyer,” Francis told officers who questioned him.
He then dictated a statement to police detailing what occurred.
“I want to say I is who choke Junnie and I want to say how I did it,” he said.
Skeete said that on August 3, after several interactions with Skeete, he tried to hug her but she kept pushing him away. A quarrel ensued.
“She start to say things that hurt me,” said Francis who revealed in his statement that he then went to the kitchen, took up a cord and went back into the bedroom.
The fight resumed and he tried to hug Skeete again.
“She fight up . . . and I put this cord over she head,” he admitted.
Francis said they continued to struggle and he kept “pulling” on the cord in a bid to “control she” and then “realized she was not moving and she fall down”.
He then went into the kitchen and took some “tablets” that she had in a cupboard and went back into the bedroom but he vomited.
Francis told the police he went to his house the next morning, took a bath and got on a bus to town.
He apologized for causing Skeete’s death, saying: “I was frustrated and fed up.”
Francis said he was not working and Skeete was not taking care of him and the situation was “overbearing”.
“I gave she everything. I feel that she was taking advantage of me. I sorry,” Skeete’s statement continued.
After the facts were presented, the judge ordered a pre-sentencing report and psychiatric evaluation on Francis, who is represented by attorney Philip McWatt.
The matter was then adjourned to March 16.