Convicted woman pleads for ‘a second chance’
Thursday, October 4 2012
CONVICTED prisoners are not normally afforded the privilege of being able to speak for themselves from the docks.
However, Angela Clarke used the opportunity to plead for a second chance, while expressing her remorse for killing her common-law husband in 2008.
Clarke, 37, a mother of six of La Fillette, appeared before Justice Mark Mohammed in the Port-of-Spain Second Criminal Court, where she pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter. She was charged with the murder of Dean Bhandoo, of Rincon Road, Las Cuevas on May 16, 2008.
Bhandoo, 51, was stabbed once by Clarke to the left side of the chest, during an altercation at his home.
An emotional Clarke, when allowed yesterday to address the court, said she was “so very sorry” for her actions, and in an almost inaudible tone said, if given the chance, she will do all her best for society.
None of Bhandoo’s relatives were in court. However, three women, all of whom were related to Clarke, sat at the back of the court and looked at the crying woman. They waved to her when she was led out of the courtroom after the case was adjourned.
The couple’s relationship was often fraught with loud, and heated arguments, so much so, that when their neighbour, Simba Williams, heard them on May 16, 2008, he turned up the volume of his radio to drown out their shouts.
According to prosecutor Tricia Hudlin-Cooper, a short while after Clarke took her five-year-old daughter, Faith, to Williams’ home. The young child, she said, told Williams “Mammie stab Dean,” to which he told the young girl that she must not say those things.
The child insisted that her mother said that “Dean was going to dead.”
Believing it to be a joke, Williams laughed it off, but later, when she went to the man’s house, she saw scratches on his body, and a bleeding gash to his leg.
Bhandoo, according to Hudlin-Cooper, told Williams that he was drunk, and agreed that coffee would help him sober up.
Williams described the couple as being drunk. He was asked by Bhandoo to go to the nearby shop to get a club soda, and after some discussion, Williams left with Clarke.
They purchased a soft drink, the club soda, and a flask of Black and White.
Along the way, they met Nolan Hernandez at Las Cuevas, and he returned with them to Bhandoo’s home.
On their way, Hernandez noticed blood on Clarke’s clothing, and enquired about it.
She told him she and Bhandoo “had a falling out” and she had chopped him.
Both Hernandez and Williams said Clarke also appeared to be drunk.
When they got to the house, Bhandoo was lying face down by the front door, and Clarke poured one of the drinks on his head telling him, “Dean, you drunk boy, get up.”
Both men attempted to find a pulse, but after not finding any, Hernandez asked the group, “What all yuh get me tied up in?” before he left. Clarke, according to Hudlin-Cooper, remarked “he dead,” and Williams insisted that she call for help.
“Like what? What help to call for?” was Clarke’s response. After being told to call the police, Clarke appeared to have done so, but according to the prosecutor when Williams looked at her phone, he saw she had dialled four nines (9999), and asked her if she was “(expletive) him.”
He then took the phone and called E999 before leaving Clarke, and returning to his house about 50 feet away.
Clarke followed him, and after being told to get out, insisted that she was not leaving without her daughter.
As she attempted to grab the child, Faith told her mother, “No mammie; I want to stay.”
Clarke again insisted she would not leave without the girl, and Williams told her the child could stay. He attempted to get her out of the one-room home he shared with his common-law wife and their daughter.
As she was yanked by Williams, Clarke cut herself on the glass door which shattered. Williams again called the police and was told they were on their way.
After the police officers arrived, they saw Bhandoo’s body and Williams, who had returned to his home, heard Clarke ask the officers, “Is me allyuh looking for? Don’t shoot, handcuff me.”
According to pathologist Hughvon Des Vignes’ autopsy report, Bhandoo died as a result of the single stab wound to the chest.
In his plea of mitigation, Senior Counsel Vernon de Lima said alcohol played a big part of what happened on May 16, 2008.
He admitted Bhandoo was kind to Clarke’s six children, but the couple often drank together, and argued.
De Lima also noted that whenever Bhandoo drank he would become angry, possessive, and jealous.
Clarke, he said, had spent four and a half years in custody awaiting trial, and was contrite and remorseful. He urged the judge to take into consideration the couple’s sometimes stormy relationship, when he imposes his sentence.
“She knows what she did was wrong,” he said.
De Lima has asked for a short custodial sentence, and both he and Hudlin-Cooper will address the judge next Monday on the range of sentences which have in the past been imposed in cases involving, crimes of passion between couples.