GUYANA-Boyfriend gets 83 years for setting spouse afire
GEORGETOWN –– Twenty-three-year-old Better Hope resident Dellon Gordon was yesterday sentenced to 83 years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Natasha Johnson. He was sentenced by Justice Navindra Singh at the High Court in Georgetown.
Last month, Gordon was found guilty of a crime which he committed almost three years ago at his Better Hope, Squatting Area, East Coast Demerara residence.
On July 4, 2011, Gordon reportedly set his residence on fire, causing the death of his girlfriend. The incident took place during a verbal dispute at the couple’s home. Johnson, a mother of four, was burnt extensively and had to be taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) where she later succumbed to her injuries.
A post-mortem examination revealed that Johnson had suffered from a dislocated nasogastric tube, brain haemorrhage and congested kidneys with heavy lungs that oozed a bloody liquid. These injuries led to Johnson’s suffering from adult distress respiratory syndrome (ADRS), which was brought on as a result of trauma from the burns, eventually leading to
Gordon was subsequently charged with the offence, but maintained his innocence.
Earlier last month, he was found guilty of the offence after a mixed 12-member jury arrived at a unanimous verdict.
However, attorney-at-law Dawn Holder-Alert, who represented the accused in association with her colleague Raymond Alli, requested a probation report on behalf of her client.
As such two reports were provided to the court yesterday by Orline Mathews, an officer attached to the Ministry of Human Services, and the prison welfare officer Tessa McGarrel.
The officers gave the court a brief insight into his life, family background and upbringing.
The officers told the court that Gordon was a product of a broken family, but that he regularly attended church services and was a member of the boxing team in the Georgetown Prisons.
The officers said that during the interviews Gordon had described his girlfriend “as a lady of the night” and maintained that he was innocent of the crime.
Gordon’s attorney asked the court to consider his age and broken family background as mitigation factors when considering a sentence.
However, State Prosecutor Judith Gildharie Mursaline asked the court to consider that the accused had shown no remorse for actions while giving the report.
Gildharie-Mursaline asked the court to remember the victim, a mother of four, and the brutal and horrific way in which she met her death on her 22nd birthday by the hands of the man she loved.
After considering the mitigating and aggravating factors in the matter, Justice Singh handed down his sentence.
He told Gordon that it was obvious he was not remorseful over his actions since the evidence showed that he continued to harbour ill feeling against the victim even after her death.
The judge told the man that he should have moved out of the house rather than harm his girlfriend.
Last month, neighbours and relatives testifying during the trial recalled the abusive relationship which the couple shared before the woman eventually met her death in 2011.
In her evidence, Melissa Fraser, who lived a few houses away from the couple recalled: “Dellon never want Natasha to talk to anybody, and when she did he would beat her.”
In addition, the victim’s nine-year-old son told the court that he witnessed the accused set his mother on fire.
The boy recalled that his mother and stepfather had been arguing on the night of the incident. He said that his stepfather had left the house to purchase bread but when he returned his mother had locked the doors.
The lad said that his stepfather gained entry into the house through a window.
The child recalled that his stepfather emptied kerosene from a stove into a container and threw it on his mother before using a yellow lighter to set her on fire.
He recalled that the house became engulfed in flames and his mother was screaming. The child said that he escaped with his two other siblings.
He recalled that his mother had rushed outside the house to a drum which contained water, crying and soaking her skin. That was the last time he saw his mother.