Barbadian, Mark Anthony Ifill, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to the unlawful killing of his Guyanese wife Bibi Farzana Ifill in October last year, was on Wednesday sentenced to 14 years in prison.
According to the Barbados Nation, the accused was handed the sentence by Justice Elneth Kentish when he reappeared before her in the Number Two Supreme Court on the island on Wednesday.
“The courts would be failing in their duty if they did not send a message abhorring all kinds of violence, especially domestic violence,” said Justice Elneth Kentish as she passed the sentence to Ifill.
She said while the court could accept that the accused had experienced “an uncontrollable and ever increasing level of frustration” in a marriage that was over, the way he bashed his wife in the head with a baseball bat, dumped her body in a well and then the “sustained period of pretence”, while police searched for her, took the matter to the high end of manslaughter cases, the report stated.
It was earlier this year that Ifill, 50, of Mount Standfast, St James, pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing – manslaughter – his estranged wife between October 15 and 23, 2010. He was originally charged with her murder but pleaded not guilty to that charge.
The judge said her starting point for the offence had been 20 years but after she took mitigating factors into consideration, she felt 15 years in prison was the appropriate sentence.
“And that is the sentence I would have passed but for the time spent on remand,” she told Ifill.
The judge told the accused that the court had given full credit for the 331 days he had spent on remand and, as a result, sentenced him to 14 years and 34 days in jail.
The court, however, pointed to “the deliberate, callous and gruesome manner” in which Ifill killed his wife, the fact that he dumped her body in a well and then threw three bags of sand in to help conceal it and the lies he told thereafter; the stories he constructed when her family raised the alarm about her disappearance, the report stated.
“It sends shivers down one’s spine,” the judge said.
Justice Kentish also said the man displayed a callous disregard for the court process as she alluded to the protection order which his wife had taken out against him.
“I accept that the Bibi Ifill death arose from an uncontrollable and ever increasing level of frustration but the grim reality is to have taken a life in the circumstances that you did places this matter at the high end of a very serious manslaughter case,” the judge said.
The court had earlier heard that Bibi Ifill had been advised by her attorney to remain at the couple’s matrimonial home even though she and her husband were in the process of getting a divorce.
The relationship was a turbulent one and at one point a protection order was granted. Mark Ifill repeatedly asked Bibi to leave and when she refused, he had the utilities turned off.
On August 15, 2010, Bibi attended a cruise and when she returned home, she called a friend and made plans to attend a karaoke session the following day.
When she did not show up, the friend became worried and tried calling her home and after such efforts failed, she called the woman’s workplace and was told that Bibi had not been seen for two days.
Police investigated the woman’s disappearance and spoke to the woman’s husband who told them not to worry because Bibi usually went away for two to three weeks at a time. But lawmen did not take his word for it and eventually they re-interviewed him. Ifill told them he had taken his wife to a deserted area in Rock Dundo.
However subsequent efforts led to the woman’s body being discovered in the well.