Prison escapee sentenced to more jail time
Police officers from the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) and heavily armed members of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) escort escaped prisoner Veron Primus (3rd from left) to a waiting police transport vehicle, yesterday.
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December 15, 2020
Prison escapee sentenced to more jail time

Veron Primus, one of the two accused murderers who escaped from Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) last week by cutting through the roof of a prison cell, says that he did it to get attention.

Prison escapee Veron Primus (right), leaves the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court accompanied by a CID officer after being sentenced for escaping lawful custody and damaging Government property.

More information continues to surface following the latest breach of prison security, conducted last Wednesday morning by inmates Primus and Ulrick ‘Chucky’ Hanson.

The Major Crime Unit’s (MCU) Assistant Superintendent of Police(ASP) Elgin Richards, headed a group of his unit’s men to the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC) yesterday, December 14, escorting Primus.

They were reinforced by armed Rapid Response Unit (RRU) personnel who stationed themselves at a distance from each other, monitoring the scene.

Primus was charged that, between December 7 and 10, at Kingstown, he escaped lawful custody, and, between December 5 and 10, without lawful excuse, he damaged one sheet of plywood, and one 16ft sheet of galvanize, valued $302.07, the property of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The information the 33-year-old gave to the police is that it took him and Hanson two days to cut the roof of the prison. Primus is housed in Block B down, while the gaping hole in the roof is in a cell in Star Class 2.

The defendant, who did not secure a lawyer, told the authorities that he switched cells with another prisoner.

The information from police investigations revealed that on Sunday, December 6, about lunchtime, Primus went into the cell in Star Class 2 and slept there on Sunday night. He went back to his own cell on Monday, December 7, but returned on December 8 after lunch.

Primus again stayed in the cell that did not belong to him.

It is said that at 3 pm on December 8, checks were made by the prison officers. All prisoners were taken out of the cell except Primus, who had gone into the toilet. When the prison officer asked “Who’s there?” he answered “another prisoner”.

The prisoners were later returned to their cells.

According to police investigations, the defendant and Hanson moved the bunk from where it was, and placed it by an area that used to leak. They tied sheets around the bunk to make a screen.

According to the prison officers who were working the 7 pm to 7 am shift, everything was in order at 7 pm on December 8, the evening before the break.

Senior Officer Alexander returned to the prison for duty a 3 am, but before this, checks were carried out every half an hour and everything was in order. At that time, the Corporal informed that he took out four prisoners to assist the Senior in the kitchen. At 5 am, more prisoners were taken out from their cells to work at the kitchen, bakery and workshop.

Before 5:42 am everything continued to be in order, until the Corporal and another prison officer, standing in the yard, received some information about a cell in Star Class 2.

They saw that the double bunk bed belonging to a prisoner was covered by sheets from the roof to the ground. When they pulled the sheets, they saw the hole in the roof.

Their checks revealed the two accused murderers missing.

When Primus was apprehended in the house of Shadene Farrell in Lowman’s Leeward on Thursday, December 10, and cautioned, he told the MCU that he escaped to get some attention.

Among other statements that he made to the police, Primus said that he and his fellow inmate used a nipper to cut the galvanize and the sheets were used as barricade to block out the bunk area so that no one could see what was happening.

Then, Prosecutor Corporal (Ag) Corlene Samuel relayed, “they went through the roof, about 3 am and it took them about two hours to get off the roof of the prison next to Vinlec.”

When they got down, they apparently dug a hole under the ground fencing and they made their escape through McKies Hill.

“He informed the police that he called a female friend, who came and dropped them to Lowmans Leeward,” where he went by another “friend”.

When Primus was arrested, over $500 was found on his person, and two Digicel SIM cards.

From the start of the matter, Primus had told the magistrate that he had something he wanted to say.

The defendant began by saying “what I did was completely wrong”, and that he probably shouldn’t even be standing there.

He made a point that he has finished his sentence for escaping lawful custody on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, which was 16 months. In prison time, one year is equivalent to nine months.

He said that for almost a month he has been in prison in Kingstown. He said he has been seeking the assistance of the police, and got in contact with a Sergeant, and informed him that he had some information in relation to the murder he was charged with.

Primus has been charged with the stabbing murder of real estate agent Sharleen Greaves, which happened on November 13, 2015.

The US Deportee has also been indicted in 2016 for the 2006 murder of Brooklyn teen Chanel Petro-Nixon.

The defendant spoke in a low voice, but did not seem to specify which of these charges he was referring to. Primus is convinced that the information he has will prove that he’s innocent of the said charge.

However, he said he got no response from the authorities.

“Well that matter that you’re talking about, there is likely to be a trial and the court will hear you on it,” Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett told him.

Primus said he understands that, but it has been five years, and “I’m seeking assistance and no one is trying to assist me, and it’s completely ridiculous to have someone being accused of a crime and saying that he have evidence to prove that he’s innocent and no one is interested in helping him, no one at all.”

“Are you suggesting that that was one of the reasons why you escaped?” the magistrate asked him.

He repeated that he knew it was completely wrong, but he just wanted attention so that he could publish it.

The Prosecutor stated that the prisoner has a lawyer in the matter, Jomo Thomas, who he should be highlighting this information to.

The magistrate said that that is a matter that will be addressed at the appropriate time and he is addressing his mind to the specific matters before him.

After a break, Burnett returned, and weighed factors such as the guilty plea, showing of remorse, the fact that Primus was convicted of the same offence before, the seriousness of the offence, and the planning and the execution of the offence.

In the end, he arrived at a sentence of 24 months for escaping custody, and three months for damage to property. The sentences are running at the same time.