Errol “Short Man” Williams, 33, who brutally chopped to death a well-liked and dedicated fireman on September 15, 2009, was given a prison sentence of 23 years for his crime.
Wednesday’s sentence was handed down by Justice James Bovell-Drakes at the High Court in Georgetown and he observed that society must be sent a strong signal for others to be deterred from such violent acts.
On the day in question at Lot 99 Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara, the deceased fireman, Patrick Daly, was using an outdoor toilet in his yard when the accused, Errol Williams, and two other men who resided in the same yard, armed themselves with cutlasses and other weapons and proceeded to bang on the toilet door continuously.
After Williams and his henchmen got the door open, Daly ran out and fled but the men subsequently caught up with him and chopped the deceased about the body using a cutlass.
Williams then fled the scene and was on the run for six years before finally being recaptured in 2015. He was living in Cayenne, French Guiana and made back and forth visits to Guyana. He even formed a relationship and fathered a child in French Guiana.
Before the sentence was issued, Williams was on the verge of tears as he told the court that he desired to have a lenient sentence. “I am sorry for what I have done; I am begging you to have mercy on me. I am asking for a lesser sentence to turn my life around,” Williams noted, telling the court that he wanted to see his three-year-old daughter who was born while he was on the run from Police.
Justice Bovell-Drakes, while observing his calls for leniency, took into account Williams’ actions on the day of the attack, which the Judge termed as “disturbing”. The matter stemmed from a complaint that Williams’ live-in friend made against Daly which prompted him to react. On this point, Williams who had been barely audible, was now attempting to raise his tone over that of the Judge, which promoted Justice Bovell-Drakes to reprimand him.
“Do not speak, I have heard you!” the Judge remarked.
Justice Bovell-Drakes reminded him of the multiple injuries he inflicted on the fireman who suffered seven incised wounds, with one to the top of his head and others to his legs, around the knee, upper left thigh, one 17 centimeters on his buttocks and one to the ribs.
Daly’s official cause of death was given as haemorrhage and shock due to multiple incised wounds.
Before computing his sentence, the Judge highlighted that based on the evidence, the dead man had no knife and no gun to defend himself from the attack. He added that based on Williams’ conduct, the court must send a message to the public that you cannot inflict incised wounds on others and “get away easily”.
The Judge started the sentence at 60 years but took away several years because Williams accepted responsibility and did not waste the court’s time when he pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
Williams took the plea shortly after the 12-member jury was empanelled. Justice Bovell-Drakes told him that while incarcerated, he should take some time and pursue academic studies in order to be an example to others.
“Change your mindset,” the Judge warned.
The probation report presented by probation officer, Ariana Gibson, detailed Williams had a sheltered life growing up with his parents which was drastically altered when they separated, as he became “unsettled”.
He too suffered separation when his own marriage lasted only six months. The court heard that he had no prior convictions.
Williams was represented by Attorney Maxwell McKay, while Prosecutors Mandel Moore and Orinthia Schmidt presented the State’s case. (Shemuel Fanfair)