TRINIDAD: They murdered man, raped woman, and will be going home

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – TWO men who were charged with murdering a Chaguanas man and raping his female friend during a robbery in Chaguanas in 2005, will spend just about 11 more years in prison custody before being released back into the free world.

Even though High Court judge Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas found that the appropriate sentences for the offences should be in excess of 30 years behind bars, there was a significant reduction in time to be served given they both pleaded guilty at the earliest possible occasion coupled with the time they had already served in prison awaiting trial.

Before the Port of Spain High Court were Michael Edwards, 49, and Desmond Cyrus, 35, of Teschier Village, Point Fortin and John Elie Road, Chase Village, respectively.

They were charged with the murder of 25-year-old Nicholas Ramsaroop and the rape of the woman on November 26, 2005, at Carlsen Field. In addition to those offences, the two were also charged with robbery, kidnapping, grievous sexual assault and false imprisonment. Edwards faced an additional charge of attempted buggery.

They both pleaded guilty to the offences on May 10, last year.

According to the State’s case, on the evening of the incident, Ramsaroop and the woman went to a bar along Chaguanas Main Road. While sitting in their vehicle, Edwards approached the vehicle and threatened Ramsaroop with a broken bottle and told him he had a gun in his possession before announcing a robbery.

Edwards and Cyrus then entered the vehicle, holding the two victims hostage, before Edwards drove the vehicle to a lonely area. Once there, the two began demanding money from Ramsaroop but when he informed them he had none, they began beating him about the body.

The woman was also forced to perform oral sex on the men and raped a total of four times, three times by Edwards and once by Cyrus. Edwards also attempted to bugger the woman. They threatened to mutilate her private parts with a knife, if she did not hand over whatever money or bank cards she and Ramsaroop had in their possession, the court heard.

Following this, the men continued to severely beat Ramsaroop. His head was stamped upon multiple times. He was also chopped to the head and neck. The woman was placed back into the car and Ramsaroop left at the scene. After driving for some distance, the men released the woman before she found her way to a house where she was allowed to make a telephone call.

Minutes later, Ramsaroop was found by police. At the time he was unconscious but still alive. He was taken to hospital but eventually died.

During Friday’s hearing at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, Justice St Clair-Douglas said given the severe prolonged violence that was meted out to Ramsaroop together with other aggravating factors, he found that the appropriate sentence for the murder was 34 years. However, they were both credited with a six month discount for enrolling in anger management and rehabilitation sessions at the prison.

An additional 11 years was discounted for the guilty plea and a further 12 years and four months for the time spent in prison awaiting trial. With the discounts, they will both serve nine years and 11 months behind bars for the murder.

For the rape, the judge found that the appropriate sentence was 35 years’ imprisonment. After the relevant discounts were made, that sentence was reduced to just about 11 years and three months.

Sentence was also imposed for the other offences, but given the time already spent behind bars, those sentences were considered as time already served.

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