By CAROL QUASH
A CHAGUANAS man convicted of rape, forced imprisonment and two counts of wounding with intent, was yesterday sentenced to a total of 40 years imprisonment with hard labour. Since the sentences were ordered to run concurrently, the accused man will serve 20 years. On March 14, David Herel of Amaroosingh Street in Longdenville, Chaguanas was found guilty of raping a teenager, wounding her with intent and falsely imprisoning the victim and her elder sister, on April 15, 1999. Herel was sentenced to 20 years on the rape conviction, ten years on the wounding and five years each for the forced im-prisonment conviction.
The trial was heard before Justice Larry Lalla at the Port-of-Spain Fourth Criminal Court. In handing down sentence to the 30-year-old father of three, Lalla told Herel the court had not considered his (Herel’s) previous convictions, in deciding an appropriate sentence. Lalla said the court was concerned about the fact that the convicted man had chosen to prey on a young woman with her whole life ahead of her and showed no remorse for his admitted involvement in robbery, kidnapping and fraud. According to the judge, Herel went so far in his “demonic lust” to tell the young woman, “You are a virgin, I like dealing with virgins.” State attorneys Nalini Singh and Renuka Rambhajaran, in presenting the case, revealed that on the day in question, the sisters were waiting for a taxi at Busy Corner in Chaguanas at about 9 pm.
Herel drove up to the victims who got into the backseat. They told him they were going to Chin Chin Road. He asked them why they were travelling so late and the reply was that they had just returned from hospital since the younger sister was ill. Herel, the court heard, told the sisters that it was not good for them to be travelling so late and offered to take them directly to their home, for the difference in the fare. The sisters accepted this offer. Along the way, he told them he needed to visit relatives at Ramgoolie Trace. He stopped in front of a two storey house and blew the horn, but no one came out. He then turned the car around, drove into an empty piece of land and came out of the car with a cutlass.
The court heard how Herel held the weapon against the teenager’s neck, opened the car trunk and pushed the elder sister into the trunk before locking it. He then ordered the young woman to remove her clothes, but she refused, saying she was a virgin. At this stage, the court heard, Herel slammed her to the car several times, put the cutlass to her throat and again ordered her to undress. When she again refused, he ripped off her clothes, tied her hands using her clothing and attempted to rape her. When his attempt at intercourse was unsuccessful, the jury heard, Herel slashed the teen’s vagina and proceeded to rape her.
After the attack, Herel ordered the teen to dress and took her blue rag which he used to wipe away her blood. He then told her she was ‘good’ and could take her as his wife. After the ordeal, the victims went to a friend’s house who took them to the Cunupia Police Station where a report was filed. The sisters were taken to Chaguanas Health Centre where the rape victim was transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope for emergency surgery. The blue rag was found by police at Herel’s home and the cutlass in his car. He was positively identified by the victims on an ID Parade on April 17. In his defence, Herel claimed he was framed by police whom he was involved with in a car- stealing racket. He was represented by Mario Merritt and Kathy-Ann Mortley.
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