Two female convicts will spend time in jail for aggravated burglary after their wish to financially compensate their elderly victims for the 2010 crime was today denied by the High Court.
“You have both expressed the view that you would like the opportunity to compensate the complainants although the complainants have not expressed any interest in this regard,” Madam Justice Pamela Beckles told Tiffany Cortia Arthur, 34, of Content Land, St Thomas and Carol Ann Veronica Roett, 41, of Dunscombe also in St Thomas.
“However, this court must be cognisant of the message it sends to the community. Although time has lapsed since the incident, your guilty plea and your expression of remorse are all weighty considerations, I am unable to accede to this request having regard to the seriousness of the particular offence and bearing in mind the need to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice, as well as the need to send a strong message to society that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Roett and Arthur had pleaded guilty at a previous sitting of the Criminal Assizes to entering the house of Ian Pickup and stealing a camera, wallet and a handheld video game belonging to him as well as three necklaces, a lighter and two rings belonging to his wife Donna Marie Henderickson on December 28, 2010.
In handing down their sentences in the No. 5 Supreme Court this morning Justice Beckles pointed to the aggravating factors of the case. She said that the convicted persons had with them a knife as well as a piece of wood which was used to inflict the injuries on Pickup while committing the burglary.
Also aggravating, according to the judge, was the fact that the crime, which she said was committed for financial gain, took place in the couple’s St Andrew home which is “their sanctuary”.
“The disparity in ages between yourself and the complainants, that is, you being young, strong adults as opposed to the complainants who were older persons, some may even consider them elderly persons,” she added.
The judge further pointed to the effect the incident has had on the life of the complainants not only physically, but emotionally, psychologically and financially.
“The offence was deliberate and premeditated – you all drove to the complainant’s residence . . . you made sure you took with you masks to cover your faces and at least one of you had a knife while another was armed with a piece of wood.” Justice Beckles said.
The court could find no mitigating factors to the offence, she added, as she pointed out that the two women were not the masterminds of the crime but “willing” participants.
Taking all those factors into consideration she imposed a starting sentence of ten years each.
However, given Roett’s antecedents and the fact that she has been deemed at a high risk of re-offending as well as other factors her sentence was increased by one year giving her a total of 11 years in jail. She was given credit for the time spent on remand while a one third discount was given for her guilty plea. She will now serve six years, 244 days for aggravated burglary.
Meanwhile, Arthur’s ten year sentence was decreased by one year given her previously clean record as well as her assessment of being at a low risk of re-offending. Taking into consideration her time spent on remand and the discount for the guilty plea she now has five years, 40 days left to serve for her part in the aggravated burglary.
Both women were also ordered to enroll in programmes that will further their education and assist them in finding employment when released.