A Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara man was yesterday sentenced to 15 years in prison after he admitted that he stabbed and killed his reputed wife in August 2011.
Andrew Ketwaru was charged with the murder of his wife Radica Ramjattan. The 42-year-old woman died on August 23, 2011, from perforation of the aorta and lung as a result of a single stab wound inflicted by Ketwaru during an argument.
The man was initially charged with the offence of murder but when he made his appearance before High Court Judge Navindra Singh, he opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
According to the facts presented by the State, Ketwaru was in the habit of abusing his reputed wife which resulted in the woman vacating the Tarla Dam, Meten-Meer-Zorg residence that the two shared. However, on August 23, when Ramjattan returned to the home to collect her clothes, she began drinking with Ketwaru and other friends.
An argument between the two ensued over the reason for the woman leaving the home. It was during the argument that Ketwaru allegedly slapped Ramjattan and stabbed her once to the abdomen with a knife.
Ramjattan’s sister reportedly found Ketwaru asleep and hugging the bloodied body of his spouse. The police were called and he was subsequently arrested and charged.
A jury was empanelled by Justice Singh on Monday and yesterday he directed the jurors to return a formal verdict of not guilty on the count of murder and formal verdict of guilty for the lesser count of manslaughter
In a mitigation plea, Ketwaru’s lawyer Dexter Todd highlighted that his client admitted to being a heavy drinker which caused him to lose control. He said that on the day following the killing, Ketwaru had little memory of what had transpired. Todd also asked the court to take into consideration the four years that his client had already spent in jail for the crime, the years he spent reflecting and realizing that the woman he loved is no longer here.
Additionally, he said, even though Ketwaru has made a fundamental turnaround, this lesson will be with him for the rest of his life.
However, the State asked the court to take into consideration that it was another domestic violence case. The prosecutor added that another woman had lost her life at the hands of the man she loved and trusted. When given an opportunity to speak, Ketwaru simply said: “I very sorry for wuh happen.”
While stating that the base years for the offence of manslaughter is 30 years, Justice Singh explained that he would deduct 15 years from the base years on account of the time Ketwaru already spent in jail, the fact that he entered a guilty plea, as well as for showing genuine remorse for his actions and being willing to accept reform by being a model prisoner.
Before the man left the courtroom, Justice Singh encouraged Ketwaru to take the time in prison to better himself while adding that he should attend anger management and alcohol abuse programmes. He wished the convict best of luck, saying that because he is only 34 years old, he would still be able to positively contribute to society upon his release.