Estella’s killer denied appeal

| 02/09/2019 | 38 Comments
Larry Ricketts (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): Larry Ricketts (36), one of two men convicted of the brutal 2008 murder of Estella Scott-Roberts, was refused leave to appeal his 40-year prison sentence in a judgment handed down today (Monday, 2 September) by the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal. In a written judgment, the court rejected his attorney’s arguments of an excessive sentence, which was the longest of any of the so-called lifers serving time at HMP Northward.

Ricketts and co-defendant Kirkland Henry (38), who has not yet appealed the sentence and has since been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, were convicted in 2010 of the murder, in which Scott-Roberts was abducted, raped and robbed, in a crime that shocked the community. Both were given 40-year sentences, representing a ten-year increase on the 30-year murder tariff set out in law.

In the judgment, the justices first recounted the details of the crime, in which Scott-Roberts was abducted in a restaurant car park after celebrating her 33rd birthday with friends, taken to Barkers in her own vehicle, then raped and killed, with the two men then setting fire to the car with her body inside to destroy the evidence. They also stole cell phones, bank card, cash and a laptop.

The justices addressed the grounds of appeal put forward by attorney Amelia Fosuhene, who appeared for Ricketts in his appeal hearing, held Friday, 23 August. They referred to Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s ruling in February 2018 following the conditional release hearing for the two men, in which he handed down the minimum 40-year sentences.

Fosuhene argued that the crimes were opportunistic and not premeditated, which the Court of Appeal rejected, pointing to CJ Smellie’s finding that Ricketts and Henry had acted in concert, saying at the time, “It is clear… both offenders were motivated in their attack upon their victim by their intention to rape and rob her.”

The justices added that the chief justice also found several aggravating circumstances that were “exceptional in nature”, which required a “substantial increase in the statutory minimum term of 30 years”, including a significant degree of planning or premeditation.

Estella Scott-Roberts, Cayman News Service
Estella Scott-Roberts

The court also rejected Fosuhene’s submission that Ricketts had not been convicted in the second indictment concerning the abduction, rape and robbery, which had been left on file after the murder conviction. Henry had denied the murder but pled guilty to the other three charges. The attorney had argued that the chief justice dealt with Ricketts as if he had been convicted of those counts. “He was not entitled, in other words, to sentence on the basis that this was a joint enterprise, each man being equally involved.”

However, the justices did not agree with that line of reasoning, and referred to a case in the English Court of Appeal (R vs Healy [2009]), saying “a trial judge in a case such as the present is entitled to make his own determination of facts about which he is sure and take them into account when passing sentence. That must particularly be so when, as here, the trial judge was the judge of the facts of the trial.”

Finally, the court noted Fosuhene’s submission that the 40-year sentence was out of line with a number of English cases she cited, adding that Ricketts had no previous convictions. In the written judgment, the justices said those cases have to be considered against the different legislative background of England and Wales and so provided little guidance in this instance.

In summing up, court said, “This was a truly horrific murder. There were multiple aggravating circumstances,” and described the details of the crime including the men laying in wait, kidnapping Scott-Roberts, forcibly taking her to a remote part of Grand Cayman, injuring her, with at least one of the men raping her in the other’s presence, then killing her and burning her.

The court concluded, “In our judgment the chief justice was entitled on those facts to conclude that a minimum term of 40 years imprisonment was appropriate, having regard to the requirements of retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation. It cannot arguably be regarded as manifestly excessive. We refuse leave to appeal.”

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    7:24pm do not get upset it sames if the word were misspelled it sames if it suppose to be Barkers in West Bay where Estella Scott-Roberts were found dead. Not Brackers

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love Justice Smellie! He is a fair, impartial and logical voice in an Island of backwards thinking cronies, and opaque deals. Go Cayman’s Judy!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Who downvotes the comments praising the sentence being upheld? Seriously.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Those are the worthless segments of society who praise the thug life and see criminality as something to aspire to.

      #Bringthenooseback

  4. Anonymous says:

    I hope those two bastards never see the outside world again. Their only use in the future will be as food for worms when they eventually die.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    If it was left to me to sentence the bastards, I’d give them the 40 years, with the condition, that they have a black plastic bag over their heads at all times, for the duration of their sentence as well.
    Afford them the same mercy they showed Estella.

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    • Anonymous says:

      An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

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      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        They are talking about balance, and justice, not verbal jingles. There has to be a reckoning for such horrific crimes.

        Agree that while it is unsavory to think about torturing these two monsters (bag over the head), consider that not so long ago they’d have been hanged in much of the world’s countries for such a horrific crime.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Genius! It would just decrease the “eyes” of the world by 50%

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      • Anonymous says:

        “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” That is a emotional response.

        “A negative multiplied by a negative equals a positive” That is science fact or in human terms “two wrongs solves the problem”

        #Bringbackthenoose

  6. Anonymous says:

    Should have hung them. Waste of good air.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I hope the two of them are sharing the same cell. It is only fitting that the two who committed this heinous crime should remain together to reflect on that despicable act.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I am quite willing for the court to use the money that I pay in to government in duties, car licence etc to keep these two monsters in prison until they draw their last breath. They should never be let out of prison and there should be no talk of appeal again. Personally I believe that the Courts should refrain from using said money to allow them to appeal ever again. Enough is enough! They brutally murdered one of our special ladies and heinously set her on fire-
      Imagine the terror she had to go through. They changed our way of life here completely and they deserve to be lock away forever. They gave up any rights they might have had when they committed the crime, there simply no excuse. I hope I never see another story on these two wicked criminals again. It is too much to accept.

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  8. Say it like it is says:

    This Court of Appeal is to be commended, they are not standing for any nonsense and fully supporting the original sentences handed down to these callous monsters.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    40 years too excessive? I only wish we hadn’t done away with the gallows, as hanging these two despicable humans would have been the ONLY appropriate sentence. It is scum of the earth like these two that are at the root of intolerance. It is because of men like this that women are afraid to walk anywhere alone at night in Cayman. In Cayman! Before Estella’s rape and murder, it was commonplace to see women walking alone on the beach at night. But that idyllic existence has been destroyed in my country because of these two animals who aren’t from here. These two are a product of whatever environment sculpted them. And it should be made clear that that environment was not here. They are not Caymanians. Many people might not feel it is necessary to make that distinction. Well those people are not Caymanian, black and male, as I am.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    That was the day Cayman lost its innocence.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Lifer is 60 years, Cayman uses polygraphs test in courts?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Just wait, the governor at the time in the future will pardon them under that law that says more than 30 years impresses on their human rights.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Privy council?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Keep these animals locked up.

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  15. Reg says:

    This such a sad case. R.I.P Mrs. Scott. The restaurant parking lot is still after 10 years later a very dangerous place with little or very poor lighting. The owners should be a shame of themselves.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Really? You’re going to try to put some element of blame on the owner of the parking lot???

      It would’ve been perfectly safe if those two absolute pieces of excrement weren’t there. They’d have still committed the offense somewhere else.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Thank you court of appeal.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Who knew about Etella’s whereabouts @ the time of the incident?. Was it those two jamaicans?. Or were they told?. It sames if there is a skeleton in the closet. Do those jamaicans know Bracker’s like that. Or it were planned/ premated?. Or were it someone that really know about Barker’s cayman islands?. Jamaicans come on jamaica is heard to have the highest crime rate in the caribbean. But come on It is a hair in this soup pull it out jamaicans. Or stay stuck.

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      What do Brackers have to do with this?

      Beyond that, I can’t tell what you are trying so hard to get across. Maybe you could say it plain instead of cryptic hints.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Thank God..Hope he rots in jail..

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  19. Anonymous says:

    It was not clear at all and in my opinion it was set up.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Either way (rumors swirled at the time) they still did the crime.
      And why is he wearing women’s sunglasses? Idiotic.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Rumours may have swirled, but there is only ONE truth. All those involved in this decent lady’s demise will (hopefully) be having a rotten life here on earth (if they have a conscience) and they will have hell to pay in the afterlife.
        To those involved, you should prepare to meet your Maker. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. You know who you are.
        Your secret society will not protect you.
        My only prayer is that someone who has real evidence is not afraid to come forward and blow this thing wide open.
        This whole thing is an abomination and a disgrace.

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