20 years for wife killer

The man who stalked his estranged wife before lying in wait in her house, throttling her, wrapping her face in cling wrap and stabbing her in the neck until he saw blood was given a starting sentence of 40 years on Monday.

However, Sean Anthony Watson will serve 20 years in prison after deductions.

“Even if she was fooling around with someone else, that isn’t what you do,” Justice Randall Worrell told the murderer yesterday.

“You don’t stalk your estranged wife. You leave. Clearly, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume that this was your pre-meditated plan.

“You have to learn to accept that if something is finished, it is finished. If it is no, it is no. Life can go on. You, yourself, continued with your life after her death,” the judge told Watson, who displayed no signs of emotion during the more than hour-long sentencing.

Justice Worrell called for guidelines on non-capital murder cases.

“I think the policy has to be legislated as to how we treat guilty pleas. People cannot be penalised for pleading guilty, and they cannot be penalised for pleading not guilty,” he said.

“If you plead guilty, and it is that all the fault is not yours, you should still have a reduction that is commensurate with common sense.”

Watson, now 46, an architectural draughtsman, of Ridge View, Bannantyne Gardens, Christ Church, was back in the No. 2 Supreme Court where he had pleaded guilty to the non-capital murder of his estranged wife Nicole Harrison-Watson on April 28, 2012.

He was represented by attorney Brian Weekes, while Director of Public Prosecutions Donna Babb-Agard, SC, appeared with Principal State Counsel Olivia Davis and State Counsel Dr Zoe King.

The judge said he had determined that 35 years was an appropriate starting point for the offence, which he described as “very serious”.

Justice Worrell pointed to Watson’s planning, premeditation, his use of a weapon and the “torture” of the deceased as aggravating factors.

“If you were really planning to kill yourself, there was no need to go to the residence of your estranged wife,” he told Watson. “But the fact you went to a hardware store and bought rope, labelled them wrists or hand; the fact you were armed, that you had a weapon – all of these were aggravating factors.”

The judge noted that even after Watson had committed the act, he still had an opportunity to “render aid to your injured wife”.

“Instead, you coolly and calmly walked away, even leaving some of the items you had taken to the residence. You would have had enough time to think about your actions and to resile therefrom.”

Justice Worrell, who also read Watson’s lengthy statement, pointed to the preparation and stalking which he had detailed to police.

“This wasn’t a crime of passion. It wasn’t something spontaneous. You had time to think through your actions. That is why the State is saying you had one thing and only one thing in mind.”

He told Watson that if he had left the woman’s house, the most he would have faced was burglary.

He then noted that as a result of the aggravating features in the offence, the court would be increasing the starting point by five years to 40. There were no mitigating features, he added.

“I do not accept you went there to kill yourself but that is what you said. I don’t think any jury would have believed you. It was wise of you to plead guilty to non-capital murder.”

Justice Worrell said he had considered Watson’s guilty plea, his previously clean record and that he had no infractions while on remand at Dodds Prison.

He then deducted two years for the mitigating features and gave him credit for the 1 560 days he spent on remand.

The judge said he believed that a one-quarter discount should be given for Watson’s guilty plea as he could not avail himself of the full one-third discount.

On the issue of delay, he told Watson it had afforded him the opportunity “to continue your life, your employment, your relationship and to have a child”.

He deducted four years for the delay in the matter and ordered him to serve the remaining 7 383 days from today.

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