By Latoya Giles
Thirty-nine year-old Budram Persaud, called “David” of Riverview, Unity, Mahaica, the man accused of forcing his wife to eat mud before inflicting a severe beating on her, has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
The judgment was handed down yesterday by his worship Justice Winston Patterson, with Prosecutors Teshanna James-Lake and Judith Gildharie-Mursalin representing the State.
Attorney at law Peter Hugh represented Persaud.
Persaud was charged with the June 15, 2006 murder of his 34-year-old reputed wife Rubeena Sammy.
The charge stated that on the day in question the two left their home to visit friends of Persaud at Belmont, Mahaica, and the two along with the others began consuming alcohol.
Persaud eventually left and went home, without his wife, who decided to stay behind. The court was told that Rubeena Sammy became intoxicated and was advised by a female friend of Persaud to spend the night. However, after the woman failed to return home, Persaud went looking for her. The facts further stated that upon reaching home the two began arguing.
One neighbour Shaneeza Ross, who testified in the magistrate’s court, stated that it was around 01:00h on the day of the incident, when she heard a noise coming from the couple’s home. The woman said she looked through a crack in the wall and saw Persaud and his wife by a trench, adjacent to their premises.
According to Ross, she saw Persaud forcing his wife to eat the mud from the trench. She recounted that as Persaud kept insisting that the woman eat the mud, Sammy pleaded, “Ow babes I can’t eat that mud.”
Persaud then dragged his wife away from the trench and told her to walk in front of him. “After he put her to walk in front of him, he kept pushing her to the ground and she kept falling.”
The court was told that upon reaching the house, Persaud hoisted the woman and threw her to the ground. He then picked up a piece of wood that was lying in the yard and started beating his wife, with whom he had shared a union of over 15 years. The couple had nine children together, six girls and three boys.
As Persaud was beating his wife in the yard, Shaneeza Ross said she shouted to him to leave the woman alone.
She added that Persaud replied “even God can’t help she…I gun mek one bad job”.
The woman was then dragged to the back of the yard and Persaud was heard telling her “Rubeena yuh going slow”.
Persaud then threw a bucket of water on his wife and started to beat her again with a piece of wood. After this, the woman, who appeared to be motionless, was dragged into the couple’s house. Persaud managed to pull her onto the veranda.
He then called the couple’s 12-year-old son and instructed him to bring a bottle of kerosene.
Persaud threw the kerosene on his wife and tried to strike matches over her, but somehow did not succeed.
He then pulled the woman inside of the house and closed the door. The facts stated that the next day Persaud got dressed and left for work.
The neighbour, Shaneeza Ross, was the person who went to the house and started enquiring about the woman. She was also the individual who summoned the police. The police found Rubeena Sammy lying motionless on the floor. She was subsequently pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Persaud was later arrested and said that he was sorry for his actions. The man confessed to beating his wife with a “rolling pin” among other items which were tendered in the magistrate’s court.
He later gave a caution statement to the police stating that he missed his wife and never intended to kill her.
A post mortem examination which was done by Government Pathologist Dr. Nehaul Singh showed that the woman had 28 abrasions to the body, 22 contusions, several lacerations, a fractured skull and her stomach contents revealed that she had consumed mud.
Persaud’s lawyer Peter Hugh, in mitigation, said that his client was throwing himself to the mercy of the court. Hugh said that from the time Persaud was arrested he had expressed sincere remorse for his wrongdoing.
According to the lawyer, the argument between the couple was that the woman would not send the children to school whenever he was out at sea.
Justice Patterson in his address to the court said that he is troubled when these matters come before him, because invariably it is the children who suffer the worst.
“You acted like a mad man…..you commanded your wife to eat mud, this cannot be countenanced….to commit murder is one thing, but to do it in this manner is another,” Justice Patterson stated sternly.
The judge noted the fact that Persaud pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter, showed remorse, and also that he had spent five years in prison.
He said that the more he studied the case, it became even more compelling to sentence Persaud to 30 years, but he was guided by the principles of sentencing and also the aforementioned factors in favour of the accused.
After sentencing, a somber looking Persaud was whisked away by prison guards.
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