Henry said Ricketts was killer

| 03/02/2010

(CNS): Kirkland Henry, who has pleaded guilty to abducting, raping and robbing Estella Scott-Roberts but not guilty to her murder, told the police that, although he was there on the night she was killed, it was his co-defendant, Larry Prinston Ricketts (left), that committed the crime. Taking the stand on the second day of the trial of the two men, Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden, one of several senior detectives who worked on the case, told the court how Henry made his confession in the back of a police car. DS Bodden revealed that Henry blamed Ricketts for the murder and setting light to the deceased’s car to cover up the crime.

DS Bodden explained how some days after Henry’s arrest he had received a call from another RCIPS officer saying that Henry, who was at that time in the police cells, needed to speak with him. However, Bodden said he was busy on another job and he did not go to see him right away. Bodden told the court that later on that day he was called again by another police officer saying Henry wanted to talk to him and to show him where the other guy (Larry Ricketts), who was along with him that night, lived.

Henry had been arrested after the police had traced him through a phone which had belonged to Estella Scott-Roberts that he had been using and had in his possession when Bodden picked him up. On hearing what Henry had said, Bodden recalled how he had then immediately arranged to meet the officer in the car park with Henry. As they all got in the car, Henry began speaking, the senior officer said. Bodden explained that, at that point, he had reminded Henry he was still under caution and that anything he said would be written down, but he said Henry continued to talk.

Having taken down what the suspect was saying in his own police notebook at the time in October 2008, Bodden began reading those notes to the court as Cheryll Richards QC took the senior officer through his evidence.

Bodden told the court how Henry had said he was sorry that he had lied about the laptop. “It was not me alone,” Henry told DS Bodden as he sat in the police car. “It wasn’t my idea to get rid of the lady, me tell him, me say that not right.” Henry went on to tell Bodden that Ricketts had told him that if he did not get rid of her the police would find him. He said the plan to rob and abduct Estella Scott-Roberts was mostly Ricketts’ idea, and when they had put her in her car at Deckers they had gone to Barkers, where both men had sex with her.

The senior officer said Henry continued to talk as he sat in the police vehicle and said that Ricketts had wrapped something around the lady and put something over her head until he killed her and then set fire to the car. Henry said he set paper around the car and then started the fire with paper and used a lighter that he always had as he smoked weed. “He killed the lady,” Bodden said Henry had told him.

The court heard how Henry had told the police that Ricketts was the driving force behind the crime, and after he had killed Scott-Roberts and set the car alight, he said they would both wait for the bus in the morning to get back to town to use the bank debit card they had stolen. Henry told Bodden that Rickets had planned the crime and told him what to do.

Bodden said that after Henry had told him his version of the events on that night (10 October) he read the notes back to him. Henry said he did not read well but still looked it over before he signed the police officer’s notebook. Bodden said Henry then directed the police to Bayshore Mall where he pointed out one of the ATMs that he said Ricketts had attempted to use with the stolen card on the morning following the murder. After that, he took the police to Ricketts’ residence on Walkers Road but he was not there, so the officers and Henry continued to drive around various places in George Town looking for him.

At this point Bodden’s testimony was stopped to allow for a voir dire at the request of Ricketts’ defence attorney, Robert Fortune QC. A specialist legal hearing where lawyers get the opportunity to question a witness without the presence of a jury, a voir dire cannot be reported on publicly. Despite the fact that in this trial Ricketts and Henry both elected to be tried by judge alone and there is no jury presence, the law prevents details being revealed until after a determination has been made.  

During a long day of testimony before hearing Bodden’s account of Henry’s version of events of that night, the court also heard from a number of expert witnesses. The first was a DNA expert, who confirmed that Henry’s DNA as well as that of Scott-Roberts was found on a condom at the scene where the rape took place and that her blood was present on Henry’s jeans. However, he did not reveal any DNA evidence linking Ricketts to the scene or Scott-Roberts.

A fire expert confirmed the car in which Scott-Roberts’ body was found was set deliberately with the use of an accelerant, and a video analysis expert helped the prosecution match clothes found at Ricketts’ home to those being worn by a man who the crown says is Ricketts, caught on CCTV at Cayman National Bank using Scott-Roberts stolen card.

Ricketts’ employer was also called to the stand, as well as a close friend and neighbour of Henry’s who confirmed he had seen him in Jamaica with a new BlackBerry phone.

The witness statements of Henry’s employer, George Miller, were then read to the court, revealing how a call by Henry to him on Scott-Roberts’ phone had led the police to Henry and his ultimate arrest.

Detective Kim Evans, who was involved in tracing the signal on the deceased’s phone via that witness to Henry, took the stand before DS Bodden and told the court he was also involved in tracking down Ricketts on the day Henry had revealed his identity to other police officers. He confirmed he was present when Marlon Bodden arrested him by George Town police station, though he said he did not hear the full details of that arrest.

Evans told Ricketts’ defence attorney that this was because he was using his phone and he did not hear anything and denied that he was just saying that to avoid any possible embarrassment over the details and procedures of that arrest.

The trial continues at 10am tomorrow morning with further testimony from DS Bodden.

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