Murder accused says violence ‘not in my character’
A man accused of murdering the mother of his child told a jury that he deplores violence and has never abused anyone in his life.
Kamal Worrell, taking the stand in his defence, denied any involvement in the disappearance of Chavelle Dillon-Burgess and all allegations of violence against her.
“I challenge anyone, police, the public, anyone who knows me, to come forward with anyone, man or woman, that I have assaulted, that I aggressed in any way,” he said.
“Violence is not in my character. It’s just not.”
Mr Worrell said that he had heard about things that had been said about him on social media over the past three years but chose not to respond.
“I could have done that,” he said. “I could have put out information about Chavelle to counter what she had stated to police and what I was charged for with respect to assault.
“I have been a lawyer. I have represented people on attempted murder charges. I know how the system works, but I didn’t want to do that to the mother of my child. Why would I want to do that to the mother of my child?”
Mr Worrell has denied allegations of murdering Ms Dillon-Burgess 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.
As the trial continued yesterday, Mr Worrell took aim at the investigation into Ms Dillon-Burgess’s disappearance and his subsequent prosecution from the stand.
He told the jury that while he had long sought disclosure of the data from his phone, seized by police in 2020, he only received the data near the start of the trial.
Mr Worrell said the phone records showed the relationship between himself and Ms Dillon-Burgess and went against the narrative put forward by the Crown.
“I knew what I had recorded on my phone,” he said. “I’m defence counsel. I know the importance of evidence that cannot be disputed.”
He said that Detective Inspector Jason Smith, the senior investigating officer in the case, had made it clear that he was the only suspect in the case and argued that other investigative avenues were not pursued.
Mr Worrell noted a report that women’s stockings were found in a trash bag and reports of suspicious activity on Tribe Road 5.
“If I was an investigator, I would want to know anything I could about this,” he said. “The tights were dried out for purposes of forensic examination, so why weren’t they forensically examined?”
He told the court that he first met Ms Dillon-Burgess in around 2015 while he was separated from his former wife.
Regarding his former wife, he told the court that he had heard rumours that he had abused her and caused her to leave the island, but said that was untrue.
He said there was an incident in which he had snatched keys from her hand, and that he understood that the police were contacted but no charges were pressed.
“I’m not sure what she reported to the police,” Mr Worrell said. “I know I never struck her or punched her.”
He said he hoped that she would “set the record straight” about the incident but at that time she was unwilling to do so.
As a result, he left her and she subsequently left the island as she had no family in Bermuda.
Mr Worrell said the rumours of abuse in that relationship resurfaced in the wake of the allegations by Ms Dillon-Burgess.
“Somehow or the other, Chavelle heard the same rumours so she repeated it,” he said. “She never met her.”
Mr Worrell said when he met Ms Dillon-Burgess, they had a few dates, but it was not a serious relationship, and the two fell out of contact until 2016 or 2017.
He said he “bumped into her” shortly after she returned to the island from New York, and they began to see each other again.
Mr Worrell said that he was surprised to be told by a former girlfriend that Ms Dillon-Burgess was married, but that he was upset by the discovery rather than angry.
He spoke to Ms Dillon-Burgess about it, and she had told him that it was essentially an “arranged marriage”, which he accepted.
Mr Worrell told the jury that Ms Dillon-Burgess became pregnant in 2018, and while he said he had concerns that her husband may be the father, he denied allegations that he pressured her to get an abortion.
“She did decide that she wanted to abort for her reasons,” he said. “Particularly because she was married.
“I was against it. I didn’t like the idea. It’s a personal thing for me.”
He told the court he was upset about her decision but before she left for New Jersey for the procedure they had a discussion and she changed her mind.
Mr Worrell alleged that Ms Dillon-Burgess had told a family friend who helped to organise the abortion that she had considered going back to her husband, sleeping with him and convincing him that the child was his.
“Notwithstanding all of that, after the baby was born, that became my priority,” he said. “I was prepared to do whatever it took to maintain a decent family home for our son.
“She was committed to giving him the best life he could have. I was committed to the same thing so from that time we tried to make it work.”
The trial continues.
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