Man to spend 18 months behind bars for burglary
A young man who severely frightened a woman when she discovered him masked and stealing from her home, will spend 18 months in jail.
When she returned home on January 3, Donnet Thomas, a bus driver of Tourama was greeted by a strange atmosphere.
As she opened her door at around 11:00a.m, she heard a noise. When she entered she saw the window open and the curtain billowing out. On closer inspection she discovered the window on the floor in the porch.
She then searched the house and discovered that her husband’s documents had been disturbed. Among the items which the family had received from overseas – a bottle of Ponch de Crème was also missing.
While continuing her observations, Thomas moved back to the kitchen where she had initially entered her home and upon reaching the room saw a man with a mask on pick up the purse she had just placed on the table, and go back through the window.
She related to the court that she was very fearful in that moment.
Thomas then ran to the porch and began “screaming out”. Some men from Sandy Bay who were working in a nearby field heard her, but they first assumed she was speaking about a goat. However, she said she was screaming about her purse.
“…The money wasn’t my money, it was for my child to go to school,” she told Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett on Wednesday, January 5 at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC). It was a cheque she had received from the Basil Charles Educational Foundation.
“He did so well in his exam and Basil sponsored him ‘cah we from the red zone,” she explained.
The cheque was for EC$450, and she had money for her own use, bringing the purse and it’s content to a value of EC$556.
A man in the “bush” had caught the masked man by the time she reached the field. They removed the mask and she was told that the culprit was from Overland.
“I told him like this ‘Boy you not getting off becah I could have lose my life for you right in my own house,” Thomas recalled.
Consequently, the culprit and purse were handed over to the police, and the individual was identified as Shaquille Byron.
“All the time my house breaking in,” and the items are not recovered, the Tourama resident said.
“Well we have one today. And he is going to be dealt with according to law,” the magistrate told her.
Thomas also said that the defendant gave her attitude and “he’s not sorry about what he did.”
She also told the court that there were two burglars but only the defendant was caught and he is refusing to give the name of the other person.
Thomas also revealed that she believed the sound she heard when she returned home was the young man escaping through the window to hide in the porch. Therefore, she supposed that he went back into the house to steal.
“He was watching my movement all the time,” she commented.
“…They only want to be on the block and watch when you leave your home, especially if you have a vehicle and you’re working van – they does watch when you move and just time when you dey out…,” she commented.
Thomas felt that it was possible the burglar could have stabbed her with a knife, given how some of the young men operate. She also noted that he seemed to want cash specifically.
Byron, a 21 year old, attended the Georgetown Secondary School. He informed the court that he wrote five subjects but did not check to see whether or not he had passed them.
The magistrate remarked that Byron had left Overland to go to Tourama to commit the act, “… Three days in the new year?…That’s all you were thinking about?”
“It was a mistake your honour,” he replied.
“A mistake to go with a mask over your face, go into somebody’s house, take her purse, run with it – luckily you were caught by somebody nearby. What is the mistake? Tell me, let me hear the mistake,” Burnett asked.
The young man then said that his own family had tried to kill him by burning down a house two years ago.
The magistrate told him that he was happy that he was still alive, and was listening to him concerning what was the mistake.
Byron then admitted that he was wrong to do what he did.
The defendant was allowed credit for his guilty plea, which is a mandatory one third discount. The court must also take into consideration that he had no previous convictions.
On the other side: “House breaking is quite common in St Vincent and the Grenadines. I see the police report every day so I have an idea as to what is happening,” the magistrate noted, and the young man was masked.
The maximum for the offence of burglary is 14 years imprisonment, different to the offence of theft which carries a maximum of two years’ incarceration.
Based on all the circumstances the court felt an 18 month prison term was appropriate.