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Trott-Edwards guilty of murder

Mother of three Kiahna Trott-Edwards was last night in custody, facing what is likely to be a “lengthy” term of imprisonment after a jury unanimously found her guilty of murdering 16-year-old Shijuan Mungal.

Closing a three-week trial that was closely watched by friends and family of the accused and the deceased, the verdict was received emotionally on both sides of the packed courtroom.

Relatives of the defendant embraced, many in tears, after Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that Trott-Edwards be remanded.

Calling for his client to remain on bail during the six to eight weeks before sentencing, defence lawyer Courtenay Griffiths QC told the court that Trott-Edwards had “three young children, all under the age of 15, who will have to come to terms with the impact of this verdict — something easier done with their mother present rather than absent”.

However, Mrs Justice Simmons said there had been more than adequate time for the defendant to put her affairs in order, and that the seriousness of the matter required Trott-Edwards to go into custody. The unanimous verdict reflected “the way in which our community feels about an offence such as murder”, the judge said.

She added: “I think it would be an affront to justice to release the defendant on bail at this time.”

She said there was a high probability of the defendant facing “a lengthy custodial sentence”.

Trott-Edwards stood accused of inflicting a fatal blow to Mr Mungal, a Berkeley Institute student, in the wake of a confrontation on September 8, 2014, outside the housing complex where she resided near Ord Road, Warwick.

The teenager died in hospital three days being struck twice with a baseball bat: once in the arm and once in the back of the head, which fractured his skull. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of his death.

During her Supreme Court trial, Ms Trott-Edwards said she had struck in self-defence, maintaining that Mr Mungal had earlier become hostile after she reprimanded him for loudly using bad language on a public bus.

According to evidence from the victim's best friend, the two were on their way out of the driveway, with Trott-Edwards angrily ordering Mr Mungal off the premises, when she struck with the bat.

Trott-Edwards, 32, remained composed after the 4.30pm verdict, quietly leaving the courtroom where several police officers kept watch over the proceedings.

Emotions occasionally ran high during the case, which drew widespread attention and divided public opinion.

Mr Mungal's friends readily admitted that the victim had been part of a group loudly using profanity on the bus after school, with one bystander telling the court he had been shocked by the schoolboy's retort when Trott-Edwards told him to stop cursing and watch his mouth.

However, Mr Mungal's later presence outside her housing complex had been unintended, as he was accompanying his friend while he stopped by his father's apartment.

The defence suggested that the victim, who had previously been suspended twice from school, was struck after he approached Trott-Edwards in a threatening manner while her daughter looked on.

That evidence ran counter to the events described by Mr Mungal's friend, who said he had been anxious to leave the area and avoid a confrontation.

For Mr Griffiths, who has covered several terrorism-related cases in Britain, it was another high-profile trial in Bermuda.

In 2006 he defended Kenneth Burgess, now in jail for the murders of twin brothers Jahmal and Jahmil Cooper.

There was no word from defence counsel yesterday as to the possibilities of an appeal, and neither family commented on the matter.

• It is The Royal Gazette's policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

In custody: Kiahna Trott-Edwards after being found guilty of murder (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published September 10, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated September 10, 2015 at 9:00 am)

Trott-Edwards guilty of murder

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