Trio jailed five years for ‘impulsive, criminal’ machete attack
Three men have been jailed for five years each over a bloody public melee that erupted at a Good Friday function.
The “impulsive, criminal” machete and knife attack happened after D’Angelo Clarke’s necklace was snatched from him outside Southampton Rangers Club on April 6 last year, Supreme Court heard.
The 22-year-old Friswells Road, Pembroke resident said the jewellery had belonged to his only brother David, killed in a shooting last year.
Clarke was yesterday sentenced with Pembroke residents Sergio Robinson-Woolridge, 22, and Gavaska Bascome, 18, for wounding and possession of a bladed article in a public place.
An emotional Clarke apologised to the Supreme Court.
“All I wanted back was my brother’s chain,” he told Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman, insisting he struck back out of rage after being attacked, robbed and assaulted.
“I would never have went to such desperate ways.”
Mr Justice Hellman said he accepted that none of the trio went looking for trouble that day but their response to a confrontation was “impulsive, criminal and wrong”.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Cindy Clarke earlier told the court the three set upon their victim with machetes and a knife as he lay on the ground, following an argument outside the club with a man not before the courts.
In the clash that ensued, Bascome wielded the knife; the other two struck with machetes.
Mr Place’s injuries ranged from stab wounds and cuts, to a fractured eye and a broken right leg sustained when an unidentified attacker struck him with a plank.
Children were among the witnesses to the fight in the club’s parking lot. A video clip taken at the scene, along with CCTV footage, was used in the trial.
Robinson-Woolridge was arrested on June 26 at his Curving Avenue residence, and Clarke on Friswells Road. Bascome, then 17, was arrested on July 2.
Defence lawyers argued that the brawl broke out after Clarke was attacked by Place and his friend, who struck him with a bottle before the chain was pulled off him.
Events on the day “overtook them”, Robinson-Woolridge’s lawyer Elizabeth Christopher said.
Clarke’s lawyer Charles Richardson called the prosecution’s requested five-year minimum sentence disproportionate, in light of the attack on Clarke.
It was a case of “two hometown boys who had a beef with him and took his brother’s chain”, he said, adding that Clarke took the machete off one of his assailants.
Bascome’s lawyer Dantae Williams said his client was a close friend of Clarke’s and had grown up in the same neighbourhood. When the fight broke out, Bascome grabbed a knife and stabbed Place in the buttock.
Conceding there were “two sides to every story”, Mr Justice Hellman nevertheless told them: “Instances of this behaviour are all too prevalent in this Island, using violence and weapons to resolve disputes and settle scores.”
Holding them collectively responsible, he gave each a five-year sentence for the use of the weapons, saying they would become eligible for parole after one-third of the time. Time already served would be counted as well.
Robinson-Woolridge, Clarke and Bascome were sentenced to two years, 18 months and 21 months respectively, for their parts in the wounding, to be served concurrently with the five-year sentences.
They will also become eligible for parole if they successfully complete violent offender and drug education programmes in jail, Mr Justice Hellman told them.
“The key to the prison doors is in your hands,” he said.
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