Tucville man gets 11 years jail for raping, assaulting sex worker

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Thurston Semple

A taxi driver from Tucville, Georgetown has been jailed for 11 years for rape and assault.

Thurston Semple, 37, preyed on a vulnerable sex worker in February of 2021, agreeing to have sex with the Venezuelan national for $10,000. He was found guilty of the offence on March 25, following a trial before Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry and a jury at the Sexual Offences Court in Georgetown. The jurors returned guilty verdicts, finding that Semple sexually penetrated the woman against her will and assaulted her between February 24 and 25, 2021 at his home.

Condemned forever

The victim, a mother of three, in her impact statement, described Semple as a “monster”, noting that since the tragic ordeal, “I have a lot of fear, anger, hatred, and helplessness.”

She beseeched the court to lock up the perpetrator for life so that he cannot hurt anyone else. “I want you to help me to get justice for myself and the other victims because I wasn’t the only victim of that monster. I would want to kill him with my own hands because that man destroyed our [her family] lives,” the rape surviour told the presiding Judge.

According to her, Semple has infected her with an incurable sexually transmitted disease that will leave her condemned forever. She said she worked as a prostitute to provide for herself and her children back in her native home.

No remorse

During a sentencing hearing on Thursday, a forensic psychiatrist, who examined Semple, found him to be functioning at the psychopathic level, meaning that he understood the nature of their interview. Concerning his personality trait, the doctor noted that manipulation stood out, explaining that Semple has extremely high self-esteem, and does not recognise his mistakes. The doctor diagnosed him as having anti-social personality disorder, which is among other things, characterised by a tendency to disregard right from wrong, repeatedly violate the rights of others and break the law through intimidation and dishonesty. The doctor also informed the court that Semple expressed no remorse for his wrongdoing. However, notwithstanding her findings, the psychiatrist did not recommend continuous psychiatric treatment for the rapist.

Lies

For his part, an evidently upset Semple, when given a chance to address the court, dismissed the psychiatrist’s diagnosis, stating that she could not arrive at such conclusions after interviewing him for only 10 minutes. He, moreover, professed his innocence.

“The whole case is lies. Since I’m in jail; I’ve learned a lot. This is injustice. I didn’t do any of these things. I ain’t do no crime, so what am I doing time for? I’m being assaulted in jail because of lies. Whatever [sentence] you [Judge] give me, I will accept; but God knows my heart…,” the emotional man said.

Serious offence

Appearing for the prosecution was State Counsel Muntaz Ali, who urged the court to impose a 17-year jail sentence on the convict. In so doing, he highlighted the serious nature of the offence and how it was committed.

He pointed out that apart from being exposed to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the woman is left to suffer serious psychological trauma, including fear, depression, anxiety, and sleeping disorder. In light of the foregoing, the prosecutor asked the Judge to impose a penalty that will serve as a deterrent.

Meanwhile, Semple’s lawyer, Everton Singh-Lammy, during a plea in mitigation, described his client as a “model prisoner” who is seldom likely to re-offend. Although the psychiatrist did not recommend further treatment for his client, the lawyer told the court that it is obvious that Semple needs to be assisted medically.

In her sentencing remarks, Justice Sewnarine-Beharry said that given Semple’s age at the time he committed the offence and him being a man of “high intellect”, he ought to have been aware of the consequences of his unlawful actions.

According to her, both probation and psychiatric reports revealed that he has been unable to recognise his own mistakes and has shown no remorse for what he did to the woman. While the Judge noted the victim’s claim that Semple infected her with an STD, she said that no evidence was presented to support this.

In the end, the presiding Judge imprisoned Semple for 11 years on the rape charge and four years on the assault charge; the sentences will, however, run concurrently.

Facts

The facts stated that around 22:30h on February 24, 2021, Semple drove up alongside the woman who was standing in front of a hotel in Georgetown. The two of them began conversing during which Semple agreed to pay her $10,000 to have sex with him.

The woman left with Semple who transported her to his home. Upon arrival, she sat on a bed and smoked a cigarette. They then engaged in sexual intercourse. During the sex act, the condom broke, resulting in the woman having to replace it.

While doing so, she told Semple that he only had 15 minutes remaining and that if he does not “climax” within that time, she would leave and that he would not have to pay her.

Semple replied by telling her “okay” before leaving for the kitchen. Upon his return, he grabbed the woman by her hair, placed a knife to her neck, removed the condom from his penis, and forced the woman to perform oral sex on him.

When the woman stopped performing the act on him, Semple dealt her several slaps to her face. At this point, she requested to have a drink of water. When Semple turned his back, the naked woman escaped through a glass window.

Semple ran behind her; he grabbed her by her hair again and dealt her several stabs with a knife. When the woman held onto the weapon, Semple lashed her about her body with a tube that was filled with cement. To get away from Semple’s wrath, the woman jumped a fence and began crying out for help. Persons came to her rescue.

Shortly after, Police arrived at the scene and arrested Semple. The injured woman was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation where she was treated for lacerations about her body, fractured ribs, among other injuries.

After the offences were put to him and he was cautioned, Semple replied: “Officer, I had sex with her. I paid her for the service and she refused to do what I asked… and I assaulted her in her face with a PVC [polyvinyl chloride] pipe”.

Pending charges

Semple is presently listed for trial at the Demerara High Court for other rape charges. He is accused of raping two other female sex workers.

The charges against him state that he raped one of the women between November 30, 2017, and December 1, 2017, and the other between January 3 and 4, 2018.

According to reports, he picked up the women at a location in Georgetown and promised to pay them $10,000 each to have sex with them.

After the women performed various sex acts on him, Semple reportedly threatened them. He then dropped them off at the location where he picked them up without paying. Semple was on bail on those charges.