Electrician’s killer jailed for six years
The killer of 22-year-old electrician and father-of-one Verneil Richardson has been sentenced to six years imprisonment for manslaughter.
Armed with a knife, Adam King mortally stabbed Mr Richardson during a fight outside Bailey's Bay Cricket Club in the early hours of June 26.
US-born King, of Hamilton Parish, left the venue shortly after arriving, but was pursued outside by his victim and two associates.
Confronted by the nearby Jamaican Grill, King stabbed Mr Richardson twice after being struck in the head with a bottle.
The Supreme Court heard there was a history of enmity between the two, but Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons declined to hear details.
According to Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Cindy Clarke, the defendant had been warned by a friends minutes earlier that the victim and associates were “planning an attack on him”. They'd come separately to the weekly Dream Team Tuesday party at the club.
After the fight broke out in the car park, Mr Richardson was heard to cry out: “He's got a knife.”
The victim was stabbed in the back, and fatally wounded in the heart.
King fled the scene but turned himself in to police later that day. His knife was never recovered.
The court heard King's past convictions ranged from assault to robbery, violently resisting arrest, and wilful damage.
Mr Richardson's family members fought back tears as their victim impact statements were read out.
Saying she felt “stuck in time”, his mother wrote: “The pain runs so deep, most nights I stay awake — because my heart yearns intensely for my son.”
Describing his hope of seeing his only son graduate from college, Mr Richardson's father added: “My son and I had a close bond. Even though he is gone, I still come home looking forward to seeing him, only to be confronted by the overwhelming grief that he is no longer here.”
Originally from the Crawl neighbourhood of Hamilton Parish, Mr Richardson lived at Cobbs Hill Road, Warwick.
He was described as a devoted father who told family that the thought of someone else raising his daughter made him “sick to his stomach”, his mother wrote.
The victim's grandfather described working on an electrical installation with Mr Richardson earlier on June 25 — only to be woken up six hours later by his daughter calling to say: “Dad, Neil's been stabbed tonight — he didn't make it.”
Mr Richardson's 16-year-old sister wrote that the loss of her brother had left her numb and detached from others.
Ms Clarke told the court that the defendant had gone out that night deliberately carrying the knife — an aggravating feature of the crime. She requested eight to 12 years' imprisonment.
Calling the matter “a case full of tragedies”, King's lawyer Craig Attridge told Mrs Justice Simmons that his client had been armed for his own protection.
CCTV showed King arriving that night shortly after 1am, within view of the deceased. The court heard King, planning to meet his girlfriend, had asked her if “there was anyone there that he would want to avoid”.
Video surveillance from the club showed King leaving the club about seven minutes later, pursued by the deceased accompanied by two associates.
Mr Attridge said King dropped the knife at the scene, and fled in panic after a bystander told him to “get the hell out of there”.
From the dock, King told the Richardsons: “I just want to say sorry to the family. I never meant for his death. I can't change what happened that night.”
Considering the circumstances, Mrs Justice Simmons meted out a six-year sentence, with time spent in custody taken into account.