12 years jail for killing mall owner; victim’s daughter says she lost sense of security, living in constant fear
Lennox ‘Soldier Man’ Roberts was on Thursday sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for the 2015 fatal shooting of 48-year-old businessman Ganesh Ramlall called ‘Boyo.’
Roberts, 39, formerly of Tuschen Housing Scheme, East Bank Essequibo was sentenced by Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall at the Georgetown High Court.
Last month, Roberts was arraigned for the capital offence of murder but opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
The charge stated that on July 5, 2015, he unlawfully killed the proprietor of Regent Multiplex Mall during the course of a robbery at his La Jalousie West Coast Demerara house.
During his sentencing hearing on Thursday, Robert’s probation report was read in court by a probation officer.
Roberts told the probation officer that he is innocent and took the plea because he wanted to return to his family.
The victim’s daughter, Sharmila Ramlall, also addressed the court and explained how Roberts’ actions had led to the loss of a “gem of a father.”
“Losing a parent has always been my nightmare, even as a young child growing up. I now know that even then, the fear only gave me a glimpse of the pain.
“Losing a parent is something you can only understand if you have lost one, let alone having one snatched from you. There are no goodbyes, no closure, no preparation. It feels like the end of life itself and it is by far the most difficult experience. My life, my dreams, they were all shattered,” Sharmilla said.
She explained that her father was her number one supporter in life and was financially supportive of her dreams of becoming a doctor specializing in cardiothoracic surgery. However, due to Roberts and others, that dream was snatched away.
“After losing him, my mom tried very hard to hold the fort down so I could continue my studies. Studying away from home, knowing I had just lost my biggest supporter was a challenge, to say the least. My grades weren’t as high as they usually were, but I tried very hard.
“However, it wasn’t long after my mom and I realized that the business needed more attention than we presumed so I was forced to discontinue my studies since it hardly spared me time,” she said.
According to Sharmilla not only did she lose her father but also her sense of security; she said she is always living in fear of being attacked.
“I have suffered nightmares and many sleepless, weeping nights! I pay expensively for ongoing therapy, I have lost my sense of identity and self-esteem.
“I live in fear daily. I have locked myself away from everything and everyone. I do not know how to live or trust,” she added.
Meanwhile, in his address to the court, Roberts said, “I learn from my mistake… I’m very sorry.”
His attorney George Thomas during a plea of mitigation said that Roberts, while on remand, has been gainfully occupied as a barber and has undergone anger management counselling.
Meanwhile, Special Prosecutor, attorney-at-law Narissa Leander during her address said that the crime was a “senseless killing.”
She also urged the court to send a strong message to like-minded offenders that such crimes cannot at tolerated in society.
Justice Morris-Ramlall considered the seriousness of the offence, the impact on the victim’s family among other factors as aggravating circumstances.
She also considered that Roberts was not at the scene of the crime, but was a principal participant.
The Judge ordered Roberts to serve 12 years imprisonment and that the prison authorities deduct from the sentence the time he spent on remand.
On March 10, Roberts’ former co-accused Kurt ‘Banana’ Erskine was found guilty of manslaughter by a 12-member jury after being on trial for murder. He is expected to be sentenced on March 28.
On February 28, his other co-accused Fazeel Bacchus was sentenced to six and a half years by Justice Morris-Ramlall.
He was released from prison the next day on time served. Bacchus had also pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was used as a state witness in Erskine’s trial.
According to reports, at about 00:10 hrs on July 5, 2015, the businessman had just returned home and was about to use the outside bathroom when he was confronted by four men.
He was shot several times about his body by the armed men, who took away his licensed firearm, jewellery and a wallet and then escaped.
Ramlall was later pronounced dead at the West Demerara Regional Hospital.