Intent key to murder charge against grocer

| 17/05/2024
Cayman News Service
Bryan Welcome (from social media)

(CNS): Bryan Roy Welcome (42) intended to kill or cause his business associate, Omar Ryan (34), serious harm when the car he was driving ran over him in a parking lot off David Foster Road last July, according to the crown case against him. The incident followed an altercation between the two men over a debt of a few hundred dollars, and prosecutor Scott Wainwright told a jury that Welcome’s intent was key to making the case against him.

Welcome, who admits he was the driver, has denied the murder charge on grounds of self-defence, claiming that Ryan threatened him and he believed he had a weapon.

Ryan died in hospital on the night of 8 July 2023, about an hour after he sustained multiple blunt trauma and internal injuries, including heavy internal bleeding. He had been knocked down by Welcome’s car and then slid under the vehicle, which ran over his torso.

As the trial opened before a jury of nine women and three men, Wainwright presented the crown’s case outlining what led up to Ryan’s death. He said that Welcome owns People’s Choice Grocery, a small business importing and supplying goods. He sold groceries to Ryan on credit, and the men had worked together for several years before the dispute emerged over the debt.

On that fateful night last summer, they had encountered each other by chance at a restaurant in George Town. CCTV footage from the Latin Taste Plaza off Shedden Road showed that Welcome had turned up in a black Audi to make a delivery to the local restaurant. Ryan was at the location, and as the two came face to face, Welcome made a comment to him about the outstanding debt, which angered Ryan.

He then used his white van to block Welcome in the parking lot as the two men engaged in an angry exchange. Ryan eventually moved under pressure from others trying to get out, which allowed Welcome to leave, but Ryan followed him to the grocer’s warehouse off David Foster Drive.

The two men continued the verbal altercation in that parking lot. Ryan got out of his car and argued with Welcome through the window of his Audi, where he remained with his 11-year-old son. The jury watched CCTV footage of Ryan yelling and gesticulating. Then, Welcome re-positioned his car to point directly at Ryan.

A few moments later, with the screech of wheels, the vehicle accelerated towards Ryan and hit him square on, knocking him onto the bonnet of the Audi. Welcome continued to drive, and Ryan slipped off the car onto the ground and under the vehicle, which dragged him along as it drove over him.

Although he had sustained fatal injuries, Ryan got up and staggered the short distance back to his own van before collapsing again and crying out in pain. As he did so, Welcome got out of his own car and came back towards Ryan while he continued to shout. He then clearly kicked the injured and dying man lying on the ground.

The medical evidence suggested that the kick did not play a part in the fatal injuries that Ryan had sustained by that point, Wainwright told the jury, but it was “indicative of his attitude toward the man on the ground”. He said the fact that Welcome had intended to hurt Ryan was an important part of the crown’s case and formed the basis for the murder charge.

However, Welcome soon realised that Ryan was badly hurt and called 911, urging the ambulance to come quickly. People at the scene began to give Ryan CPR as he faded into unconsciousness. When the emergency services arrived, they took over before taking Ryan to the hospital, where medical personnel continued trying to resuscitate him before he was pronounced dead.

The pathologist said in his report that from the start, the injuries that Ryan sustained were fatal, and it was unlikely he would have lived even if medical attention had been instant.

Welcome was then arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and taken to the detention centre, where he gave a prepared statement to the officers after speaking with an attorney. He outlined the dispute and how he believed Ryan wanted to hurt him while he was there with his child.

He said Ryan might have had a gun or another weapon and was threatening him. He stated that he had intended to drive away, but as he pulled off, he hit Ryan, who had slipped and fallen under the car.

The case continues.

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