Each DV abuse demonstrates one adult’s attempt at control over another and most usually presents when an offender seeks to coercively abuse another physically, emotionally, sexually, financially, socially or psychologically. Threats of violence almost always escalate over a period of time into uncontrolled behaviour – occurring both within the home and without.
DV reports are not a rarity and any one of them can result in grave danger towards attending police officers in their capacity as first responders. None-the-less, in the broader context, officers must consider the manifestations of intent when conciliating a peaceful outcome between parties. Whilst avoiding assumptions, the officers must maintain a duty of care and protection towards the ‘established victim’ of the abuse. Equally, the criminal justice system, social services and health-care agencies play an important role in the final outcome/resolution.
Here is one such report of domestic violence dealt with by the Police in 1968.
Williams was followed into the station from the street by PC Brian Hanney who told him to sit down and it would be dealt with.
P.C. Brian Hanney
Meanwhile, police were receiving reports of a stabbing incident at Clayhouse Inn and patrols were on the way to that location.
Sergeant Hilton Wingood and Constable Mike Caulkett arrived at the scene and were informed that a coloured female had been taken to King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) suffering with a stab wound to her chest. They were told that the culprit had earlier dashed from the Clayhouse night club saying he was going straight to the police station. The officers located and spoke to one witness, lawyer Walter Robinson, who had pulled Williams off the victim – his estranged wife Theresa Williams.
I said to Mrs. Williams, “Who did this to you?”
She replied, “Ernest my husband. We argued.”
She further explained that she and her husband had been living apart for about six months and that when they had met at the Clayhouse that evening, they had talked and argued a little. He had written her a cheque for £20 and had then left the night club. When questioned further, Theresa confirmed that she was Jamaican, as was her husband and, importantly, that they were NOT then legally separated.
Whilst establishing the facts, Mrs. Williams told me that Ernest had approached her from behind and stabbed her in the center left chest. He had then withdrawn the knife and come at her again, hitting her in the forearm as she defended herself. She had not heard him speak when he took these actions.
It was at this point that Williams was fetched off her by a Walter Robinson. We also learned that another witness, Ludwig Cann, had taken the knife from out of Williams’ hand and had seen him rush out of the Clayhouse and jump in his car. Other observers reported seeing another knife inside his car on the floor. In his flight from the car park, Williams was seen to strike three other parked cars.
The victim’s only explanation for her husband having assaulted her was that he was jealous at seeing her socializing with other men.
In his presence, Constable Hill informed me of what Williams had earlier said to him when entering the station.
I said, “Mr. Williams – I am Detective Constable Rose from the CID. It is my information that you have stabbed your wife, Theresa, who is now in the hospital. I understand that after this happened at the Clayhouse Inn you came straight here to the police station.” Willams stretched himself whilst still seated and put his arms out straight in front of him on the desk.
I continued, “I must tell you that you are not obliged to say anything to me but whatever you do say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence.”
A. “I’ll say everything in court. I got nothing to say.”
Q. “Why did you do it her – will you tell me that?”
A. “I wanted her to die. I just did what had to be done. She should be dead man.”
A. “I couldn’t take it no more.”
Q. “Will you make a statement?”
A. “When I see her lawyer Mr. Richards. I guess he’ll be satisfied. You’ve got all I’m saying.”
Q. “Where did you get the knife?”
A. “You got enough.”
Williams folded his arms and stared at me with a slight grin on his face.
He then asked me, “Is she dead? She should be dead man.”
I said to Williams, “It is my duty to arrest you for the attempted murder of your wife Theresa Williams at about 2.30am this morning at the Clayhouse Inn. You are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so but what you do say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence.”
Williams replied, “I knew that.” He shrugged his shoulders, stood up and was then formally searched by PC Hill before lodging him in a police cell.
I then made notes of the above conversation and observations in my pocket book.
A search of Williams’ car parked outside the station revealed a clean knife which was found by PC Hill on the floor under the front seat. I took possession of this knife. The car was taken to the police compound at Prospect for further examination and safe keeping.
Williams’ general demeanour throughout our interaction was that of lethargy. He appeared to know quite well the seriousness of what he had done and appeared resigned to whatever was to come. He believed his actions were what had to be done and he seemed comforted by having accomplished them. He wanted to give his car to PC Hill because he thought he would not likely be using it again.
P.C. Stanley Hill
At 5.30am I checked with hospital staff and learned that Mrs. Williams was still actively being attended and that additional surgical explorations would have to be carried out during the morning hours. I was informed that Mrs. Williams was comfortable and not in danger and that bleeding had been halted.
I typed a full night report on the matter for follow-up by daytime CID officers including the fact that witnesses Ludwig Cann and Walter Robinson had not yet come forward for interview.
At 8.55pm that evening I interviewed female cabaret artist ‘Mitzy’ at the Clayhouse Inn. I was aware that other bottle dancers at the Clayhouse including ‘King Marryshow’ had been interviewed by other CID officers and statements had been recorded.
Williams was released on bail on the recognizance of two sureties of £250 each. A preliminary hearing into the alleged charge was set to begin on the following Wednesday, October 9. Williams, is represented by Miss Shirley Simmons and has been living in Bermuda for the past seven years.
MURDER ATTEMPT CASE MAN FOR TRIAL
Pembroke man tried to murder wife – charge
On Wednesday, October 9, 1968 Ernest Augustus Williams, of Serpentine Road, Pembroke, was committed for trial in the Supreme Court on a charge of attempting to murder his estranged wife on September 21 in Devonshire Parish.
Those giving evidence in the [Long Form] preliminary inquiry before the Wor. R. H. Lownie were:
Paul Brian Counsell, consultant surgeon;
DC Andrew Philip Bermingham;
Waiter Nathanial Harvey Robinson, of Middie Road, Devonshire;
Carl Desmond Donovan, resident medical officer at K.E.M.H.;
Theresa Icine Williams, also known as Barbara Williams of Cedar Hill, Warwick;
Ludwig Vincent Cann, of Cherry Hill Park, Paget;
Donald Galloway Gates, of Loyal Hill, Devonshire;
Ernie Tyson, of Clayhouse Inn, Devonshire;
William Kervin Richardson, of Cox’s Hill, Pembroke;
PC Brian Hanney;
PC Stanley Colin Hill;
DC George Franklyn Rose, and
Det. Chief. Insp. John Joseph Sheehy.
Williams was released on bail with two sureties of £250 each, and on the condition that he surrender his travel documents, and stay away from his wife.
ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGE DROPPED BUT MAN GAOLED FOR STABBING WIFE
As reported by the RG on Tuesday, November 19, 1968 –
“A 31-year-old Jamaican, with tears in his eyes and his voice shaky, had told Chief Justice the Hon. Sir Myles Abbott in Supreme Court that he was sorry for stabbing his wife at the Clayhouse Inn on the night of September 21. A resident in the colony for the past seven years, Ernest Augustus Williams told the court: “I am very sorry for what took place that night, and it will never happen again.
Williams, a married man with three children, was before the court charged with attempting to murder his wife, Theresa, at the Clayhouse that night, or alternatively, with wounding her with intent to do her bodily harm. He pleaded guilty to the wounding charge, but denied the attempted murder count, and it was dropped by the prosecution."
In jailing Williams, the Chief Justice stated:
“This case gives me a great deal of worry. The offence to which you pleaded guilty has a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. It is a very serious matter, indeed. You are fortunate that you are not here on a very much more serious charge. You might very easily, by what you did, have killed your wife, but I am happy for you, and especially for her, that you did not do that.”
“It is an offence which is regarded as most serious. I cannot do what you and your lawyer hope I might do,” Sir Myles told Williams. ‘‘You have no previous convictions recorded, but unfortunately you have begun that record now with a most serious offence. I shall give you a very light sentence, however.”
In relating the facts of the incident to the court, Crown Counsel, Mr. Anthony Palmer said that the defendant and his wife were estranged but continued to see each other from time to time, and the accused contributed money to her support.
“The accused left the Clayhouse Inn,” Mr. Palmer went on, “drove home and obtained two knives. He returned to the Inn, about a half hour later.”
In the audience was local barrister Mr. Walter Robinson who pulled Williams off his wife while another person in the crowd relieved the accused of the knife. At no time, said Mr. Palmer, did Williams offer any resistance and after composing himself, he left the Clayhouse and drove to the Hamilton Police Station where he turned himself in.
Miss Shirley Simmons, Williams’ counsel, said that Williams and his wife have both been in the Colony for about seven years and have always had regular employment. He was a body repair man at Masters Ltd. The whole affair, a domestic incident relating to the “usual wear and tear of a marriage” was very unfortunate, she submitted to the court.
Just before the incident, Miss Simmons went on, Williams had been interviewed for a job in the United States and his wife had planned to accompany him there. There was a chance of reconciliation.
REPORT ON DEPORTATION OF ERNEST AUGUSTUS WILLIAMS
In compliance with His Excellency’s command, at 2.55pm on Wednesday, January 15, 1969 at Casemates Prison I formally served a Deportation Order on Ernest Augusta Williams and informed him of his right to sue out a writ of habeas corpus.
On instructions from His Excellency, Williams was allowed his freedom on the Island from Friday, January 17, 1969 until Monday, January 20, 1969. He was not under supervision but he was required to report to Hamilton Police Station twice daily, at 10am and 6.0pm.
During his two-day stay of the order, Williams [resided at a private home] at Happy Valley Road, Devonshire.
At 5.10pm Monday, January 20, 1969, after escorting Williams to the Civil Air Terminal, I witnessed him board BOAC flight 675 and depart for Kingston, Jamaica.
Signed: George F. Rose DC 112.
For more see www.centreagainstabuse.bm
George F. Rose
Article published October, 2023