Woman escapes after being held for four hours
September 20, 2011
Woman escapes after being held for four hours

Vermont resident Laura Stephens Dublin said that she is relieved to have walked away from an abduction situation physically unharmed, and intends to use her experience to warn other women.{{more}}

Dublin, a physical education teacher at one of the primary schools in Kingstown, was at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Monday, September 19, where she faced Ulrick James, the man who lured her to a residence in Glen, which police officials described as a ‘bat house’ and kept her captive for nearly four hours on the morning of September 7.

The woman was called to court by Senior Magistrate Donald Browne, to give an account of the ordeal, which the Magistrate said, from reading her statement to police, sounded like a script from a Hollywood movie.

Recounting the ordeal, Dublin informed the court that on August 28 this year, James, whose address was given as Stubbs, journeyed to Vermont, where he spoke with Dublin about a job for someone to babysit his sister’s child in Canada.

“I am accustomed to helping others; and I know some young ladies who need work, so we exchanged numbers and told him if I find someone, I would contact him.”

Dublin related that on a number of occasions, James, who had given her a false name, invited her to come to his home to collect documents relating to the job offer; but due to varying circumstances, she was unable to rendezvous with him until the ill-fated day.

According to Dublin, she was called by James to meet him at the gap in Glen to pick up the papers, since he was unable to make it to town because he had persons at his home doing work.

She said that to her surprise, when making her way to their meeting point, James was in the same vehicle that she was travelling in. He made the excuse that he had to rush into Kingstown to handle some business and was making his way back to meet her.

James then took her to what appeared to be an occupied residence, but when they got to the house, she realized it was abandoned; but by the time she could react, James had pulled a knife on her and showed her what he implied was a gun wrapped in a bandana in his waist; then took her into the house.

The mother of three said that she pleaded with her captive to release her, but her pleas fell on deaf ears and she was threatened with physical violence.

After three hours and forty minutes alone with James, Dublin finally outsmarted her captor and was able to escape his grasp by hitting him with a piece of wood in his head and making her way to the main road, where she sought help and was taken to the police station at Calliaqua to report the matter.

James was arrested on September 11 and charged with abduction.

He pleaded guilty to the charge.

Commenting on the case, Magistrate Browne had stern words for both the virtual complainant and the accused.

“You are very gullible. You are fortunate that he didn’t rape you,” Browne mildly scolded Duncan.

“With all your too good nature, be careful,” he warned.

“As for you, you are a very evil man. I don’t know what you set about to do, but you set out to do a dastardly act. Thank goodness that she dealt with you.”

Browne also pondered as to why James, who has a criminal record dating back from 1990, was not charged with kidnapping, which carried a greater sentence, and possession of a weapon.

He has previous convictions which include larceny, wounding and possession of an imitation firearm.

As recently as 2004, he was sentenced to four years imprisonment for the attempted rape of a Fair Hall woman in 2003.

“I am sending you to prison for four years hard labor. You are an evil man,” Browne said to James, who continued to stare at the Magistrate.

“This criminal is looking at me and I ain’t do him nothing. I didn’t send you to terrorize the lady,” Browne said.

Dublin, looking back at the ordeal after the sentencing, said that she was relieved to be alive, but was traumatized by the situation, which she said taught her not to be so trusting.

“I want women to be vigilant; take everything into consideration and weigh them before they make decisions.”

“Women should also learn self-defense and strength training. Be prepared.”

Dublin expressed gratitude to her family members and friends who rallied around her after the ordeal, and was especially grateful to Constable Greene, stationed at the Calliaqua Police Station.

Dublin, who said that her captor’s ultimate intention was to rape her, said that she intends to be a voice against the abuse of women, to ensure women are aware of the types or men who are lurking in society.

“Men could really be pigs sometimes.”