Life sentence for wife-beating husband who killed peacemaker

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L-R: Anthony Jones and Nyron Vyphuis

A man who stabbed and killed a 19-year-old labourer who had intervened in a row and stopped him from hitting his reputed wife, was on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment by Justice Sandil Kissoon.

Known as ‘Pastry Man’, 41-year-old Anthony Jones was initially indicted for the October 13, 2018, murder of Nyron Vyphuis which occurred at Yarrowkabra on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.

However, earlier this month, Jones upon his arraignment opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter. Reports are that Jones and his common-law wife were at their liquor shop imbibing when a heated argument broke out between them during which he tried to hit her.

Upon seeing this, Vyphuis intervened and stopped the man from hitting his spouse. As a result, an enraged Jones armed himself with an axe and went after the teen. Upon seeing this, another man who was also drinking at the shop disarmed Jones who left and went home.

But he subsequently returned with a knife and attacked Vyphius whom he stabbed to the chest. In a bid to escape his attacker, the injured man ran a short distance before collapsing into a clump of bushes. His relatives rushed him to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

During a sentencing hearing on Monday, Probation Officer Carol Beresford told the court that Jones, who dropped out of school at age 14, has expressed remorse for his actions. She added that the confessed killer is asking the family of the deceased for forgiveness.

The Probation Officer also said that Jones is pleading with the court for a chance to redeem himself.

“I am asking for the family to forgive me for what I have done. I have accepted my fault. [Judge Kissoon] I am asking you to please be lenient in whatever decision you come to; please forgive me. I have already asked the Lord for forgiveness. Thank you, sir!” said Jones in his address to the court.

Meanwhile, Cassie Vyphius, the dead man’s sister said that her brother’s untimely demise has plunged their family into a deep state of mourning. Through a victim impact statement, the woman disclosed that her brother was killed a few months after their father passed away.

“I still cannot come to grips with not having my loving brother anymore.”

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Kissoon told Jones that “in a deliberate and unprovoked act of brutality and violence” he launched a ruthless and violent attack on Vyphius who was a mere youth. According to the High Court Judge, Jones’ actions on that day demonstrated scant regard for the sanctity of life.

“In carrying out this despicable deed, Anthony Jones armed himself with an axe and then a knife before sitting upon this unarmed youth whose acts and intervention perhaps saved the spouse of Anthony Jones from further acts of abuse and violence…” said Justice Kissoon as he recanted the facts.

The Judge told the convict, “As a consequence of your criminal act, parents have lost a child, siblings have lost a brother. The community has been deprived of a fine, worthy, upstanding member whose attributes were just and righteous…”

The High Court Judge, in arriving at an appropriate sentence for him, considered the aggravating and mitigation factors. However, the Judge was keen to point out that the mitigating aspects cannot take away from the gravity of the offence committed.

On this note, Justice Kissoon said that the aggravating circumstances, in this case, were great. Speaking to the confessed killed, the Judge added, “You launched an attack on this unarmed youth; a peacemaker and you inflicted that fatal injury to his heart, killing him.”

In addition, the Judge pointed out that he also took note of the level of premeditation, in that, Jones after being disarmed of the axe, went home, retrieved a knife, and attacked the now dead man. Jones becomes eligible for parole after serving 20 years in prison.