GEORGETOWN, Guyana – A High Court judge had sentenced a 36-year-old labourer to two life terms in jail after he was found guilty of raping and robbing a 20-year-old woman at gunpoint in January 2013.
The woman, now 29, described Ronald Armstrong as a “weak-minded, deranged, sadistic monster and a pitiful excuse of a human being” adding in her impact statement read by the prosecutor, State Counsel, Caressa Henry, “I hope every day that you are tormented by your violent actions.
“I hope you can’t sleep at night because of what you did to me. I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive you. But I want to forget you because when I think about you and your actions towards me, it makes me sick to my stomach,” she told Armstrong, who appeared in court virtually.
Presiding Judge, Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, in sentencing Armstrong said that he should begin serving the sentence after he completes a four-year jail sentence for an earlier conviction on an arms robbery charge.
Sitting in the Sexual Offences Court in Demerara, she said the court was compelled to impose a sentence that is commensurate with the serious nature and prevalence of the offences.
In arriving at an appropriate penalty, she also considered the physical, psychological, and emotional trauma the woman was left to endure; that a deadly weapon, a gun, was used during the commissioning of the offences; and that Armstrong committed the crimes while he was on bail for other offences.
Justice Sewnarine-Beharry said the accused expressed no remorse for his actions, and given his previous brushes with the law, there is a high likelihood that he will re-offend.
“In this case, the aggravating factors greatly outweigh the mitigating factors,” said the judge, adding that the court must protect society from persons like Armstrong.
The victim told the court that for years, she blamed herself for what happened to her.
“I blamed myself, I was angry at myself, I questioned everything I did and did not do, every action…” she said, adding that with time, she has finally allowed herself to be angry at Armstrong.
She recalled that during the incident, when she screamed, Armstrong stuffed her mouth with cloth, while pointing a gun at her then eight-month-old baby. She recalled that all her attempts to get away from him were unsuccessful.
“I couldn’t protect myself and it kills me. I felt like I died that night. A piece of me did die that night,” she added.
The court heard that the woman was at home on January 22, 2013, with her baby and sister who were both sleeping and while in the bathroom doing laundry, she was confronted by Armstrong, who was armed with a gun, and two other men.
Armstrong demanded gold and other valuables from the woman while threatening to injure her baby if she did not cooperate. Afraid for her life, she handed over several pieces of gold jewellery her baby was wearing as well as some she had stored in a cabinet.
He then pulled her into a bedroom, placed her on a bed, and raped her until she passed out. The victim was revived by her sister, who was also raped by one of Armstrong’s accomplices after the men left the house. (CMC)