From the Courts
January 18, 2008
George gets 15 years for attempted burglary

The man who attempted to rob an elderly couple on December 17, 2006, and received an early Christmas present in the form of a chop with a cutlass was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on Tuesday at the High Court.{{more}}

The silence in the court was almost ear shattering as trial Judge Frederick Bruce-Lyle handed down the sentence to Fred George, 43, labourer of Ribishi, Prospect, after he changed his not guilty plea.

Just before changing his plea, George asked to speak to his elderly mother who could hardly walk to the witness box where George was seated. Whatever was said to her caused tears to start trickling down her cheeks.

George was jointly charged with Kevron Gabriel, 20, labourer of Redemption Sharpes, for aggravated burglary. The defendants went to the couple’s home around 6:15 am, armed with an imitation firearm and cutlass, and demanded money. It was said that James and Joyce McBarnett, 77, were in the kitchen having breakfast when the men attacked them.

Gabriel grabbed Joyce and held her down, while George accompanied James to the bedroom where James McBarnett told them the money was.

Instead of reaching under his bed for the money, McBarnett pulled a three-seam cutlass and fired chops at George, catching him on his face and hand. George staggered out of the house and was helped by Gabriel.

The bleeding was too much for George and he sought medical attention at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital immediately. He was subsequently arrested there.

McBarnett, a former engineer, retired some 14 years ago to resettle in the land of his birth, after close to forty years in England.

Justice Bruce-Lyle commended the elderly couple for their bravery. “You are lucky they did not kill you. These are people who worked their whole lives and you come and want to rob them of it,” Bruce-Lyle said.

George mentioned that his life has been downhill since he got divorced. “Since that my Lordship, my life has been tampered with. I am asking you to impose a non-custodial sentence on me and put me on a long bond instead.

“I was going to be lenient on you, but looking at your record I cannot do that. You attacked an old couple,” said the Judge. George has four previous convictions of a similar nature and was sentenced to 15 years in jail for the offence. “Now go and say goodbye to your mother,” added the Judge.

A bench warrant was issued for the arrest of Gabriel who failed to turn up at the trial.(KW)