Stanley Barrow was yesterday afternoon sentenced to 45 years in jail for the fatal beating of Megan Jones, whom he sexually assaulted and then cut out a piece of her tongue.
Barrow, 39, who was indicted for the capital offence, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter last Thursday. His sentencing was, however, deferred until yesterday to facilitate the presentation of a probation report.
The probation officer, who read the report to the court, said that during an interview with the convict, the man maintained his innocence, denying ever knowing the deceased or harming her in any way.
Prosecutor Narissa Leander expressed concern, while pointing out from the report that while Barrow had pleaded guilty, he seemingly was still not prepared to take responsibility for his actions.
Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall, who presided over the case, cautioned that the convict’s refusal to accept culpability for acts he had already said he was guilty of committing, could only be against his best interest.
The judge, however, noted further that it was not unusual for persons to plead guilty to a charge and thereafter not own responsibility for their actions, nor express remorse.
The probation report described Barrow as a vagrant, who slept around the Vreed-en-Hoop market area, and did odd jobs, including that of labouring for vendors.
In his address to the court, attorney Maxwell McKay, who represented Barrow, begged the court for leniency, referencing the portion of the report which said interviews conducted with people in the area revealed that the convict was not a violent person.
Noting also from the report that the man has no skill-set, McKay asked the court to order, along with sentencing, that his client be afforded the opportunity of benefitting from programmes offered by the prisons.
McKay also asked the judge to consider that his client had pleaded guilty at the first given opportunity, thus saving the court considerable time in otherwise having to conduct a trial.
For her part, however, Leander asked the court to impose the maximum sentence, highlighting the nature and gravity of the offence committed.
She reminded that not only was Jones badly beaten, but also sexually assaulted by Barrow, who cut out a piece of her tongue. Justice Morris-Ramlall commenced sentencing at 45 years, saying that she had taken into account the level of cruelty with which Jones met her demise and the fact that Barrow showed no remorse, nor took responsibility for his actions.
The judge said she had also considered a pending rape charge that the convict has against him.
From the 45 years, Justice Morris-Ramlall deducted eight years for Barrow’s guilty plea and an additional two years for the time he has spent awaiting trial.
Additionally, the judge ordered that Barrow be exposed to literacy programmes and counseling while in prison.
Jones, 68, of Stanleytown, West Bank Demerara, was found on July 22, 2015, on the access road to the Vreed-en-Hoop jetty, with part of her tongue missing and other injuries to her body.
She succumbed to her injuries two days later at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
An autopsy revealed that she died from multiple injuries about the body and blunt trauma to the head.
A niece of the woman had explained that after a divorce and other family problems, Jones suffered a mental breakdown.
Family members had said that on the day of the attack, Jones, who complained of feeling un-well, had left home for the West Demerara Regional Hospital.
The woman had reportedly identified Barrow as her assailant from her hospital bed, prior to her death.