More than five years after he hacked his three children to death as they lay asleep in their Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara home, John Blanchard yesterday received a life sentence after pleading to the lesser count of manslaughter.
The charge against Blanchard stated that on October 11, 2011 at Dr Charles Sand Road, Soesdyke, he murdered 10-year-old Belika George, and four-year-old Daniel Blanchard. Six-year-old Joy Blanchard had also sustained numerous chop wounds about her body and was hooked up to a life support machine at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) for several days before succumbing to the injuries.
Making his first High Court appearance before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow for the commencement of his trial, Blanchard, 35, opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
He was in turn sentenced to life imprisonment by Justice Barlow who noted that he would only be eligible for parole after serving a period of 30 years in prison.
Meanwhile, in his address to the court, Blanchard broke down in tears saying he did not know what got into him that day that would have caused him to commit such an act.
Reports are that on the evening of October 11, the three children were asleep when Blanchard armed himself with two knives and stabbed them repeatedly. His stepdaughter Belika George and his son Daniel Blanchard succumbed immediately, while his daughter Joy Blanchard survived for a few days in hospital.
At the time he committed the act, the man’s wife Onica Blanchard was in Mahdia, where she had been recently employed at a mining camp. He had confessed his crime to her during a telephone conversation before claiming he was joking. She had then called her mother and asked her to check on the children and her mother had confirmed her worst fears.
The case was presented by State Prosecutors Siand Dhurjon and Shawnette Austin while Blanchard was represented by attorney Maxwell McKay.