Thirty eight-year-old Vishwantie Ragnauth broke down in tears from the prisoners’ dock at the announcement of a 40-year jail sentence imposed on her for killing her uncle on Boxing Day of 2014.
Ragnauth, also known as ‘Shelly’ and her reputed husband Nyron Thakurdyal, 39, also known as ‘One Eye’, were on June 15, convicted of the murder Sunil Ramsundar, an uncle of Ragnauth.
On December 26, 2014, they stabbed Ramsundar to death at Skull City, Patentia, West Bank Demerara.
Facts of the matter revealed that on the day in question, there was a family problem which resulted in an altercation between Ramsundar and his niece. Things escalated, and Ragnauth’s spouse (Thakurdyal) and Ramsundar became involved in a scuffle, during which Ramsundar was stabbed about the body by his niece and the man.
The injured man collapsed and was rushed to the West Demerara Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Yesterday, a little over a week after they were convicted of the crime by a jury, Ragnauth and Thakurdyal were jailed for 40 years each, following the presentation of probation reports.
The custodial punishment was handed down by Justice Sandil Kissoon at the High Court in Georgetown.
Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes was retained by Thakurdyal and his common law spouse.
Appearing for the State were Prosecutors Lisa Cave and Orinthia Schmidt.
Delivering the findings of the probation reports was Senior Probation Officer Zola Cameron-Lubin who detailed conversations she had with the two convicts, prison officials, police ranks, and the daughter of the deceased, among others.
According to Cameron-Lubin, Thakurdyal has maintained his innocence and has shown no remorse for his action. She added that Thakurdyal is adamant that he was a peacemaker, and only expressed regret towards a life being lost.
However, in his address to the court, Thakurdyal, a father of six, and formerly of Industry, East Coast Demerara, said, “I would like to express remorse to the family of the deceased. I would like to go back to my six children out there.”
The court was told by the Senior Probation Officer that Thakurdyal was born in Berbice to a nuclear family.
He however dropped out of school in Grade Four due to financial reasons, which resulted from the separation of his parents.
The probation officer revealed that the convicted killer had lived in the Bahamas and the United States with his mother. But in 2002, Cameron-Lubin disclosed that he was deported from the US for narcotics.
Eleven years later, he met Ragnauth, with whom he shared a relationship, the Senior Probation Officer said, adding that he worked as a construction worker and was involved in the trading of hygienic products.
Ragnauth, the Senior Probation Officer said, was born at Canal #2, West Bank Demerara.
Like her spouse, Ragnauth dropped out of school after her parents separated. Thereafter, at age 17, she gained employment as a sales girl and also worked as a waitress at a bar. She became pregnant with her first child at age 24, Cameron-Lubin added.
Ragnauth, who is now a mother of three, was described as very abusive by residents in the Patentia area.
The probation officer told the court that residents alleged that the woman and her spouse were in the habit of imbibing alcohol, after which they would argue.
In one instance, the court was told that the woman stabbed one of her previous spouses.
Ragnauth, according to villagers, also was in the habit of smoking cocaine and marijuana—drugs she was accused of selling in the neighbourhood.
Expressing remorse, Ragnauth said, “I am so sorry for whatever happened. I have lost my uncle. I have three children and I beg the court for forgiveness.”
Mitigating on behalf of his clients, Hughes described the killing as most unfortunate and regrettable.
The lawyer asked the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that, his clients’ conviction was “unfortunate.”
In responding, Prosecutor Cave stressed that the two participated in a cruel act on a helpless and defenseless man. The lawyer asked of the court to impose a sentence having considered the extent of injuries sustained by Ramsundar, and the evidence presented throughout the trial.
In calculating a sentence for the two killers, Justice Kissoon started at a base of 50 years. A total of 10 years were deducted by the Judge after taking into consideration the time they spent on remand pending trial, plea in mitigation made by their lawyer, and their expressions of remorse.
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