Wife killer gets 20 years

Spouse abuser found guilty of 2009 attack and neck stabbing

Haydock Baxter after receiving the sentence yesterday.
Haydock Baxter after receiving the sentence yesterday.

GEORGETOWN –– Fifty-three year-old Haydock Baxter was yesterday sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for the unlawful killing of his wife Carol Braithwaite-Baxter.

Baxter strolled slowly along the corridor of the Georgetown Supreme Court as he made his way back to the prisons.

He was indicted for the murder of his 48-year-old wife whom he had viciously attacked and stabbed in broad daylight on October 19, 2009, while in the vicinity of the Georgetown Prisons. The woman was at the time taking food for her eldest son, who had been incarcerated.

The victim, of Lot 177 Garnett Street, Albouystown, was stabbed in the neck. Public-spirited citizens came to her rescue and apprehended her husband. Mrs Baxter was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, where she was admitted. From her hospital bed, the woman told reporters that Baxter would constantly threaten and abuse her, whenever she refused to give him money to support his drug habit.

“When I reach in front de prison and go fuh sign me name, he come and tell me when I finish, let we go fuh de divorce. I tell he I ain’t going,” the woman had said.

She had recalled that her husband became annoyed and pulled out a knife and plunged it into her neck. The woman was stabbed at least three times and later succumbed to her injuries.

Baxter, also of Garnett Street, Albouystown, had pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter after his case came up before Justice Dawn Gregory and a mixed 12- member jury. He claimed that his wife had attacked him.

“She see me passing on a bicycle and she try to throw hot porridge pun meh because I de sleep out de night before . . . . I had a knife and I stab she,” the man told the court, as he apologized for what had happened.

Attorney Huckumchand Parag requested a probation report into the circumstances of the incident prior to Baxter’s sentencing. The report was read aloud to the court yesterday.

According to the report, Baxter grew up at Bagotstown, East Bank Demerara, under the supervision of his maternal grandmother, after his parents separated. He stopped attending school at a young age and did odd jobs to support himself.

He subsequently met his wife, who belonged to the same village and they shared a relationship for 30 years, prior to the incident. The couple had four children together, but Baxter had other children outside of their union.

The relationship between Baxter and his wife was tumultuous as he would often abuse and mistreat her. The court was told that the man would frequently abuse his wife at her place of employment, which resulted in her services being terminated, on two separate occasions.

He also had numerous brushes with the law and members of his community. He was arrested for having a utensil used for smoking narcotics; shot by the police and doused with corrosive substance as he engaged in criminal activities.

Baxter was also incarcerated on numerous occasions. He served a three-year sentence at the Mazaruni Prisons. The probation officer related that family members of the victim opined that she lived in constant fear of her husband.

The court learnt that before her tragic demise, Mrs Baxter was in receipt of documents that would have afforded her the opportunity to travel to the United States as a permanent resident, which she revealed to her husband. Some opined that this may have also contributed to the incident that led to her death.

Baxter’s attorney subsequently asked the court for leniency. The lawyer asked that the court take into consideration that the accused had already spent eight years in prison awaiting trial and had shown remorse for his actions.

Justice Gregory ruled that based on the report the accused had a history of violence and as such the incident that led to his wife’s death was not isolated.

“It was not a one-off thing; you had a history of violent behaviour towards your wife. On two occasions you even caused her to lose her job. The sentence starts at 30 years, but I have taken into consideration that you spent eight years in prison pending trial, which is deducted from the sentence. However given the report, which detailed your history of violence, I will deduct two more years for your guilty plea, bringing you a sentence of 20 years,” the judge detailed in her ruling.

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