Thursday, 19 January 2023 13:04

Serial rapist apologises to victims after slap-on-the-wrist sentence

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EVERTON Bennett, the mastermind behind an abduction, rape, and robbery spree in February 2021, who was last week sentenced to 21 years behind bars, has apologised to the four women who gave evidence against him.

According to a Social Enquiry Report (SER), details of which were accepted into the records of the court last Thursday during sentencing, Bennett told the probation officer who interviewed him that he is sorry for his actions against the women and that he knew they will be experiencing "shame and fear".

Those actions saw Bennett, who was the main aggressor in the company of two other men between February 3 and February 15, 2021 carrying out the attacks on the women. His two accomplices are yet to be nabbed by the police.

Bennett, as part of a plea agreement, admitted his guilt in the Gun Court to a 17-count indictment brought by the Crown, led by prosecutor Hodine Williams, charging him with multiple counts of rape, forcible abduction, robbery with aggravation, and illegal possession of firearm.

Last Thursday Supreme Court Judge Justice Judith Pusey sentenced Bennett to a cumulative 94 years.

For three counts of illegal possession of firearm Bennett was sentenced to 17 years at hard labour. For the five counts of robbery with aggravation he was sentenced to nine years at hard labour, while for the five counts of forcible abduction he was sentenced to 11 years at hard labour. He was also sentenced to 17 years, one month, and 10 days for one count of rape, 19 years on another count of rape, and 21 years on another two counts of rape.

The judge, however, ordered that the sentences run concurrently, which means that Bennett will serve the longest of all the prison terms, 21 years.

It was also ordered that Bennett should spend a minimum 15 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.

In the allegations outlined by the prosecution, Bennett rented a 2012 Grey Toyota Axio motor car on February 3, 2021, initially for three days and then extended the arrangement on four other occasions up to February 15.

In one of those attacks, investigators say a mother and her two daughters were walking home from church sometime after 9:00 pm on February of 2021 when they were held up by men travelling in a car.

The women, who were ordered into the car at gunpoint, were robbed of their cellular phones and cash and then driven off the roadway into bushes where the thugs took turns violating the daughters while ensuring that the mother, who they kept imprisoned in the car, watched. She was spared from that assault. Investigators say the women were eventually released close to where they were initially abducted sometime after 11:00 pm.

Bennett, when arrested and cautioned in relation to this matter, reportedly said to the investigating officer, "One more miss, after mi nah come out ya now", in an obvious reference to the mounting charges he was facing.

In another incident, the woman, who is a security guard, was on her way to work and was ordered into the car by two of the three men, one of whom was armed with a gun. She was robbed and then raped by Bennett, who enquired if she was a virgin and whether she had heard of recent murders in the area.

In another attack two days later, a student was kidnapped and robbed of her phone and cash by the men aboard the same vehicle. After driving to a lonely road, Bennett, despite being told by the other men that the young woman had said her menses was close, raped her.

The police, however, believe that Bennett and the other two men, who they are yet to collar, had violated more than just the four women over the period.

"The reports came in one behind the other, it was so many of them, we would have had other cases, but some complainants withdrew because of fear. It was actually a series of events, same description, same modus, but they came forward, made the report, were medically examined but to deal with the trauma of the statements being recorded and all that, they just did not show up, so without that we cannot prosecute [for those victims] because they indicated they didn't want to follow through because they didn't want to relive, and for many other reasons," a police source said. 

Speaking in the aftermath of Bennett's sentencing, prosecutor Hodine Williams said: "Crimes like these are a different kind of evil; they are some of the most egregious violations you could commit on another person. These brave women in the various incidents have grit and I'm glad they spoke up and allowed the prosecution [police and prosecutors] to assist them in getting some justice in their phase of healing."

Forensic evidence in addition to the testimonies of the women helped snag Bennett, who in August 2020 had reported that his motor vehicle was stolen and voluntarily gave a DNA sample to the police. After the forensics lab completed its analyses of samples related to the four women, Bennett was confirmed to be the source of the male DNA found in the semen obtained from the sexual assault forensic evidence (SAFE) kits of the respective complainants.

Last modified on Thursday, 19 January 2023 13:54