Lifetime of abuse drove son to kill

| 15/08/2019 | 38 Comments
Cayman News Service
Waylon Rivers arriving at court

(CNS): Waylon Rivers (20) from North Side killed his father, Timothy Rivers (66), in June last year in a spontaneous attack that was the result of a lifetime of “absolutely relentless” verbal and sometime physical abuse by his parent, the court heard Thursday. Rivers appeared for sentencing following his admissions earlier this year to manslaughter due to provocation. He had told the authorities that he just wanted his father to stop, but had cracked and stabbed him just once. However, it turned out to be a fatal wound.

Waylon Rivers, who was 19 when he killed his father, suffers from severe epilepsy, learning difficulties and impaired cognitive abilities. He has no previous convictions and his entire life has revolved around the family farm in North Side. But the court heard that both Rivers and his mother had suffered extreme lifelong verbal and emotional abuse from his father.

Defence attorney John Ryder told the court that Rivers was very vulnerable and dependent on his parents, given his mental health problems, and was not really capable of independent living. And despite the sustained abuse he had suffered at his father’s hand, Rivers still loved him and was truly remorseful.

The court heard that Timothy Rivers had abused, insulted, belittled and undermined his son since he was a baby. Evidence from family, friends and neighbours noted the constant quarrelling of Timothy Rivers and his endlessly disagreeable and angry nature. Recordings made by Rivers’ mother of her husband’s constant tirades of abuse and expletives about her and his son were given to the court and described as the normal course of events.

On the fateful day, Rivers father had woken up and hurled a torrent of abuse at his son, describing him as a useless dog and taunting him to kill himself or if he would like to kill him. The abuse continued all the way to the farm and by the time they got there his father had started to push him about and telling him to get off the farm.

But as they walked side by side, Waylon snapped and lost control. He grabbed the knife his father was carrying and stabbed him with it and threw it to the ground before he ran off.

As the crown presented the facts of the case they accepted that Rivers had been subjected to a significant degree of lifelong provocation. But argued that his life was not in danger at that particular instance and the provocation was not at the time bad enough to justify the attack.

The sentence will depend on the judge’s decision regarding that degree of provocation, which Ryder argued was high, given the circumstances.

Acting Justice Tim Owen, who heard submissions about the case via video connection from London, said that he would take some time to consider the appropriate sentence, given the various circumstances of the case, including the provocation and Rivers’ mental health problems. He said he would deliver his decision next month.

Meanwhile, Rivers was remanded back into custody.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS, I’m unclear as to why comments on this trial are allowed while it’s ongoing?

    CNS: The trial is over. This is his sentencing hearing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    child abuse is so wicked, sad and unfortunately most adults don’t know how to deal with it and it is left to fester. Hopefully more and more adults are coming to grips with the protection of their children.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This made me tear, as a young Caymanian growing up I felt this pain, not as bad but it’s really mentally draining and emotionally damaging. This young man deserve a chance to redeem for his mistake, if I was abused the way he was I would of retaliated the same way that he did. Nobody deserve to be abused at all, this island is full of it and yet government doesn’t care for it.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    ”..Evidence from family, friends and neighbours..” Yet, neither intervened.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Poor kid. And now we’ll punish him for it instead of getting him the help he so obviously needs. I wonder how many people knew about the abuse and did nothing.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The fact that Waylons’ life was not in danger is, I believe, not the point. If one understands that war veterans, subjected to mental torture during the several years of service they provide, end up with PTSD, how much worse must it be for a child already coping with mental and physical disabilities to endure that torture from the person in his life who is supposed to protect and love him. What effect must it have to not only have to suffer this abuse, day in and day out, year after year after year, but to also have to rely on the abuser for shelter and food? Taking a life is a serious crime but destroying your child’s life and emotional, and psychological well-being, is just as serious. In a way, and I know this might sound like an awful thing to say, Mr. Rivers created the perpetrator of his own demise. I feel nothing but sorrow for the entire family.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I do not understand the Crown argument quoted here. A man with a history of violent behaviour and abuse who is holding a knife suggests he is prepared to kill you and there’s no danger to life? It sounds like self-defence to me.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The argument is probably subtle and technical. (1) the ‘threat’ to kill was not issued at the time of the incident but earlier in the day, (2) he was ‘carrying’ not holding the knife, i.e., it could have been in a sheath on his belt or in a basket/bucket/etc. The Crown’s case rests on the strict ‘are you in immediate physical danger’ test which the courts tend to apply.

      Think of a 007 movie where Bond stands in front of his enemy with a gun on the table between them pointed at Bond but not held by the villain. Bond grabs the gun and shoots the villain. In court the prosecution would make the same argument that Bond’s life was not in immediate danger so it was not self defence. Yes your life might be in existential danger but that doesn’t count as self defence on the face of it if you have the possibility of walking away from the situation. If the villain grabs the gun and fires, but Bond dodges, upturns the table, the two wrestle and the villain ends up getting shot, that counts as self defence.

      Up to the Judge (in this case) to decide how strict to apply the test given the circumstances. That’s why we have court cases. (Also because they tend to involve more details than CNS can cram into an article short enough for us to want to read.)

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    • Anonymous says:

      I read that part differently, I thought the father was inviting the son to either kill himself or, if he wished, the father.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    It all comes down to education…if parents are not educated, then the children are not educated….and the bible is not the only book that educates. If you can’t read, then you cant even read the bible. Then what happens all you have is only the preachers words…which can be confusing, when only one viewpoint is presented. Back to education…read whatever book you need to, but form your own opinions, be leaders, not followers….EDUCATION. One of Cayman’s biggest challenges that continues to grow as the population grows….what do we value here! Oh yes…the dollar, not our own people.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not sure that we always understand a simple truth. For a government to value people it needs to have revenue – I.e. money. Money that pays for education, hospitals, scholarships, infrastructure, police, a new coastguard, poor assistance, and more.

      And a sustainable source of government money requires a strong and growing economy. So to care for people required a strong economy. This is the same whether it’s government caring or the community through charity.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The hidden toxic element of Caymanian family life. So much swept under the rug or hidden in the closet and needs to come out. The hidden dirt on this island is bigger than trashmore but these people of “religion” would have their family dirt hidden and the dignity of the family name intact than the truth coming out and being fixed to truly make the family name noble and honest.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not just Cayman. Physical and sexual abuse is also America’s dirty little secret, particularly in certain parts of the country – and not just in Appalachia. But you are right; the only way to change things is to expose it. See what’s happening with #METOO and in the Catholic church – finally.

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      • Anonymous says:

        In proportion to country’s population The Cayman Island is probably a leader in child abuse. Talking about developed countries.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Grand Cayman environment is becoming more toxic with each day; no wonder so many kids are born with so many abnormalities and health issues. Add to the mix the culture of child abuse. How anyone in their right mind would want to get pregnant, carry and give birth to a child on this island of toxic waste and despicable culture? UNFATHOMABLE!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes because cities with millions of people, big factory/industry that discharges into rivers are known to be more clean than a 20 mile long island in the middle of the ocean.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Did you miss the article on MRCU aerial toxic chemicals spraying? The Dump? Arsenic contamination? Incinerator emissions? Your 20 mile long island is a toxic wasteland.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Let me say up front, Grand Cayman did not invent child abuse or any kind of abuse. It is horrible and is a worldwide pandemic. However I don’t understand how neighbors and other family members did not go to this lad’s rescue. I haven’t read that any previous report was made to the Police or even a politician, or a church or other organization as you always run to lay the blame on them. If it was not reported how would they know about. As. I see it, all the family and neighbors who knew and said nothing are to blame as much as the father. I trust that the courts will be lenient and give him a chance to live a life as decent and safe as possible. Little lamb, I pray for you!!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    With so many organisations, on GIC payroll, volunteers and non-profits who designate their existence to prevent child abuse in this country, the numbers are staggering and it is not getting any better.
    How much more depressing this could be?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    This is deeply saddening and reminds me of Cyntoia Brown. Children/pre-teens cannot tolerate any form of abuse and instead rely on forms of dissociation to cope. This ‘snap’ that you talk about, isn’t a ‘snap’ at all. It’s a ticking bomb that has finally exploded, after decades of torment. This is not an uncommon thing, for an abused person to kill their abuser. Where was the judicial interference while this child (now adult) was being abused? Familial betrayal is the worse and deepest cutting. I wish this young man and his mother so much peace. May you find a father figure who shows you what being a man is truly about.

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    • Anonymous says:

      12:43am I love this comment and the sentiments to the young man and his mom. I too hope he finds a father figure to show him what being a man is truly about. I also hope the sentence is only probationary. He really shouldn’t be spending time in Northward for even further damage.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. The court should obtain his school records, if in fact he went to any school. The teachers play. Big part of a child’s life in the USA, teachers here are to notify authorities if they even suspect any kind of abuse; child is dirty, extremely hungry or thin or any bruises on the child. Doctors and hospitals do the same thing, any broken bones, bruises notify the authorities! So court should get his medical records too to see if he has ever or how often had any broken bones, burns from cigarettes etc.

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    • Anonymous says:

      12:43am The problem with most of these situations is, those who come here find it easier to live here and have no intentions to leave, so they stick around and endure whatever is dished out. If life was so horrible, why stay?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz,……caymanian parenting needs to step up….

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Omg. The stuff that go on here is shocking. Rapes, child abuse every where you look and not one damn petition about it!!!! Yes i said it. Or arrests for that matter.

    Petition for this and that. But no mental health facilities or proper care for our children. Lets petition that.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for this young man. Many of us have lived with this kind of parent. Constantly abusing us and displaying their resentment of us as the source of their unhappiness. Some of us are verbally and physically battered. Some of us are raped repeatedly. Cayman doesn’t have politicians that care about the well being of children. So we grow up stressed and lacking in self confidence because we feel worthless. I hate this community of people constantly hurting children. As you get older and weaker, your child grows stronger. This boy’s father met his time. Keep berating and not nurturing your child… ticking time bomb or your child will grow up and not give a damn about you.

    Some of us try move ahead with life and try to be better parents than the “egg and sperm donors” we have… unfortunately this poor young man wasn’t able to get out. I feel no sympathy for the father. But my heart aches for the son and the mother.

    I despise all parents or adults who hurt children or don’t do anything to protect them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry you didn’t have great parents. That breaks my heart. Just like this story. All this baby wanted was love but his father was a prick. I was so lucky, and my children are just as lucky. My parents weren’t as lucky as I even. Break the cycle, you owe it to your children to be the best person possible.

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    • Chet Oswald Ebanks says:

      Well written 7:28 pm. I have always told my sisters. That anyone that ever harmed any of my nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews. I would have to do the same, sadly. Our children are our future. But instead the past and present Government, have changed our education system. And could care less about our future, which are our children. More needs to be done. As a people, we Caymanians, are falling our children. Am very proud to say, that am a product of the old Caymanian school system. Proud to have known Mrs. andJoy Basedo. Been taught by some of the finest teachers. From the Caribbean to the United Kingdom and Northern Island.
      We have to protect our children. Why is it that mental health facility has been delayed. While our people suffer. Same on your past and present Unity Government.

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    • Anonymous says:

      say it again for the people in the back who will no doubt condemn this young man for killing his father. I cannot imagine what he must have gone through for the majority of his life or how he is now dealing with the fact that he killed his father, because no doubt he will be suffering some amount of guilt about that. I pray that he gets the help and counselling that he so desperately needs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      All it takes is being cussed out every day for making mistakes than children do. Don’t even have to hit them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They abuse us as children saying we are worthless, stupid etc but expect us to look after them in old age. I was a victim of a lot of verbal abuse from a bad mother. However my respect of the Lord makes me support her in her old age. I give her short rein and do not permit her to bring her narcissitic ways to me. I am in my 50s and still remember the abuse vividly. She pretends she was a good mother. I just ask God to direct my path.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you. I shared a similar stress from many years of abuse delivered by my mother. Physically beaten with an extension cord and with a broom handle until large bruises and welts would cause me to skip school so observers would not see. Now I financially, emotionally and physically am expected to care for her as she’s 90 and quite limited in abilities. I was born and raised thousands of miles away from this country, and I am male. This horror on a child’s life is not unique to Cayman so it would be proper to not have this brushed off as a Cayman only problem as some commenters have done. I stand with you in that my faith gets me through each day that I honor my parent. Be well. Be blessed.

        • Christina says:

          Can a counselor PLEASE donate their time to go to the jail to help this poor boy. He needs counseling desperately. He’s suffered his entire life and ontop of it all he will now be suffering from guilt. It’s heartbreaking! But we could all help him by providing him the help he needs. Even if the community needs to come together to donate money to pay for a specialist. He needs to know that people are here for him and he MATTERS!

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