Tre Shaquille Murray will have the next eight months in Dodds prison to contemplate his “extreme careless and reckless driving” on a St Philip road over three years ago that claimed the life of a police officer.
Murray, now 26, from Spring Hall, St Lucy was given a starting sentence of 18 months in prison for his guilty plea to causing the death of Station Sergeant Clifford Bridgeman while driving his vehicle, L97, along Carrington Road at the junction with Edgecumbe Hill, St Philip on March 26, 2017.
In handing down the sentence in the No. 2 Supreme Court this afternoon Justice Randall Worrell said the mitigating factors far outweighed the aggravating factors and reduced the sentence by six months for the offender.
“I can’t see anything mitigating to the offence based on the speed at which you were travelling, based on the manner in which you were driving on that day in question,” Worrell said.
The judge also reduced the remaining12 months by a third after taking other factors into consideration.
As of tonight, Murray will spend the next eight months at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds for his actions.
“There is nothing that has been said to indicate that you are otherwise a bad person.
“What also the court thinks is a mitigating factor is that you will have to live your life forever, knowing that as a result of your driving . . . you took away someone’s life . . . someone who was a father, a brother, etcetera.
“That is something that you will have to live with. It is as a result of your doing, but it is still something that will gnaw at you every night that you sleep, I am sure, for years. That is something that is going to bear heavily on your soul and the court thinks that that is something that it should take into consideration even though it was caused by your hands.”
Justice Worrell imposed the sentence after considering the evidence of the accident reconstructionist on what took place that Sunday evening as well as that of another driver on the road at the time.
In parts of the statement, read by the judge, the reconstructionist revealed that the accident was caused by the driver of L97 who was travelling at an excessive speed – over 120 kilometres per hour – when he decided to overtake a vehicle along a section of the roadway where there was a solid yellow line.
According to the expert, visibility ahead along that section of the road was impeded because of the brow of the hill. The driver, he said, lost control after colliding with the motorcar he was overtaking, collided with two vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, slid along the roadway, travelled across a grassy area before colliding with a stationary motor van and pushing it out of its path where it subsequently flipped on its right side. As a consequence, L97 went airborne, eventually overturned and skidded along the open pasture before coming to a rest on its roof.
Justice Worrell ruled that based on what was stated it was quite clear . . . “you had to be operating at an excessive speed in a manner which was extremely dangerous to the public, that is other road users. You were fully careless and reckless in your approach to driving on that day in question.
“We may never know what led to that driving by yourself. It is said that there was some motor racing event that may well be the case but no one is holding that against you. It is your driving in that particular manner, that dangerous driving, which caused the death of Clifford Bridgeman.
“As far as this court is concerned . . . the Crown would have established the element of extreme carelessness and recklessness on your part.
“The court is of the opinion that this is one that is deserving of a period of incarceration, that is, a period of time in prison. And the reason for that is because it is an extremely serious matter, a serious offence. I think the threshold has been met as a result of your extreme reckless and careless driving at a speed clearly in excess and in a manner which is not befitting for that road based on what the reconstructionist said,” Worrell told Murray who fidgeted, clasping his hands to the front of his body, then releasing back to his side and repeating the action as the judge delivered the sentence.
“It is more than just carelessness or negligence it is clearly extreme in your circumstances,” the judge said. Murray was represented by attorney-at-law Sian Lange and Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Alliston Seale was the prosecutor.