Woman gets 12½ years for killing man over Chinese food

A woman was yesterday sentenced to 12 ½ years in jail for stabbing a man to death after he failed to deliver the Chinese food she had asked him to buy.

After the ceremonial opening of the Demerara Criminal Assizes yesterday morning, Justice Navindra Singh handed down the sentence to Vanessa Baird, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter

Though initially indicted for murder, the mother of one opted to plead guilty to the lesser offence. Her plea was accepted by the state and the court.

Baird admitted that on December 21st, 2013, she unlawfully killed Percival Williams.

She was moved to tears during the hearing.

Her attorney, Mark Conway, in mitigation, begged Justice Singh to consider that his client was the mother of a minor child.

The lawyer advanced that when the woman had given $1,000 to Williams to buy the food, she had been facing financial difficulties and was depending on the meal to provide for her daughter.

Prosecutor Abigail Gibbs, who presented the state’s case, noted that while the accused may have been faced with financial difficulties at the time of the killing, the court must consider the loss suffered by Williams’ family.

The prosecutor said that he lost his life over a “pointless matter—just a box of Chinese food.”

The state’s case, which Baird did not contest, was that she had given Williams, 43, of Hague Village, West Coast Demerara, money to purchase the food.

After he failed to so do, the court heard that the woman subsequently saw and confronted him about the purchase at the Parika Stelling, East Bank Essequibo.

The court heard that it was during that time that Baird dealt the man a single, fatal stab.

Williams, who was stabbed to his lower chest, died from perforation of the lungs and heart.

After hearing submissions from both sides, Justice Singh imposed the 12½ years sentence on Baird.

The state’s case was presented by Gibbs, in association with prosecutors Natasha Backer and Tiffini Lyken.

The matter was heard at the High Court in Georgetown.

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