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Chavelle’s grandmother gives testimony at Worrell trial

The grandmother of a missing woman told the Supreme Court yesterday of a nightmarish relationship between her granddaughter and a former lawyer.

Thelma-Jean Swan said that Chavelle Dillon-Burgess suffered manipulation and abuse when living with Kamal Worrell, including having food withheld while pregnant.

She added that, in a conversation with Mr Worrell, he said that his friends had told him to “get rid” of her granddaughter.

Ms Swan said: “Mr Worrell told me right at my kitchen door that friends told him to get rid of Chavelle.

“It didn’t click in my mind that he did something to her, so I didn’t question it.

“But then I saw all these things about Chavelle missing and I started to wonder what happened.”

Mr Worrell has denied allegations of murdering Ms Dillon-Burgess, the mother of his child, on an unknown date between April 10 and June 11, 2020.

He has also denied a charge of wounding Ms Dillon-Burgess, a charge of common assault related to an incident on June 1, 2019, and six counts of common assault related to an incident on November 14, 2018.

Ms Swan told the court that her granddaughter, who was originally from Jamaica, moved to Bermuda in 2014 to help her mother raise her then-infant brother.

She said that Ms Dillon-Burgess enrolled at Bermuda College for several years but later left and took on several jobs, including as an airport security guard and a caretaker.

Ms Swan said that Ms Dillon-Burgess also moved out of her mother’s house during this time and in with her.

Ms Swan said that Ms Dillon-Burgess eventually moved in with Mr Worrell around 2018 after becoming pregnant with his son.

But she told the jury that, according to her granddaughter, her pregnancy was wrought with problems from the relationship.

Ms Swan explained that Ms Dillon-Burgess told her about an incident where she brought home a bag of supplies for their unborn baby — only to have Mr Worrell burn them in the fireplace, explaining that “he didn’t know what was in the bag”.

She added that, because of this mistrust, her granddaughter would stash baby clothes at her house.

Ms Swan also told the jury of a time when Ms Dillon-Burgess ate an entire carton of ice cream when she came to visit.

When she questioned her, Ms Dillon-Burgess said that Mr Worrell refused to let her eat ice cream in their house.

Her granddaughter later accused Mr Worrell of throwing out her food while she cooked and refusing to let her take the multivitamins necessary for her health while pregnant.

Ms Swan said that soon after Ms Dillon-Burgess gave birth, she came to her home with the help of a friend.

Ms Swan said that she later found out that Mr Worrell had taken Ms Dillon-Burgess home from the hospital, but along the way they had a fight, he kicked her out of his car and she had to call a friend to pick her up.

Ms Swan said that the couple later made up and that Ms Dillon-Burgess doted on her son.

But she said that Mr Worrell later refused to let her see the baby because, according to him, she was an “unfit mother”.

Ms Swan said: “Chavelle was distraught — she could not eat, she could not sleep. She would just say ‘Nana, I want my baby back’.”

She added: “She had a recording of the baby crying and all she would listen to at night was the baby crying.”

Ms Swan said that in April 2020 she contacted Mr Worrell because she had not heard from her granddaughter and was concerned.

She said that he told her they had a fight and Ms Dillon-Burgess had packed a bag of clothes and left.

But Ms Swan said: “He said she left at night but there were no buses running.

“Chavelle has no car, she’s not with her uncle, she’s not with me and she’s not with her mom or her friends, so where is she?”

During cross-examination, Ms Swan admitted that her granddaughter did not share all of her life events with her.

She explained that she did not know her granddaughter was married until about a month after the wedding and did not know she had met Mr Worrell through an affair.

Mr Worrell also suggested that he believed Ms Dillon-Burgess was an unfit mother because she threw a rock at him while he held their baby.

He also suggested that, in another instance, she left their child on the sidewalk to fight him.

Fellon Raynor also took the stand yesterday. She told the court that she met Mr Worrell when they attended The Berkeley Institute in 1995.

She said that they dated for a brief time before breaking up and staying friends.

She added that Mr Worrell was a “pretty upstanding guy” and that the two did not argue or fight.

Ms Raynor said that she met Ms Dillon-Burgess in 2018, but the pair initially had a rocky relationship.

She told the court: “We had a brief encounter and she wasn’t quite happy with me.”

Ms Raynor said that the next time she saw Ms Dillon-Burgess was at Mr Worrell’s home, and that she was “irate” and “confrontational”.

She said that Mr Worrell attempted to keep things calm and de-escalated the situation enough for Ms Dillon-Burgess to collect her things and leave.

However, Ms Raynor said that their relationship softened after Ms Dillon-Burgess apologised and Ms Raynor started looking after Ms Dillon-Burgess’s child.

The trial continues.

• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case