Convicted 29-year-old Dave Benjamin of St David, has been slapped with a life sentence for the Sunday, 24 January 2016 murder of 39-year-old Jessica Colker.
Benjamin appeared at the #2 High Court on Wednesday 17, and Thursday 18 January 2018, where he faced Justice Paula Gilford. Additional information and evidence regarding whether or not Colker was raped by the convicted man surfaced, and both medical doctors who examined the body were called in to shed light on their findings once again.
Upon hearing their testimonies, and reviewing the Social Inquiry Report thoroughly, Justice Gilford concluded that the evidence did, in fact, prove that Benjamin raped Colker. It was brought to the court’s attention that Benjamin is no stranger to the justice system. 2 months before Colker’s death, he was released from Her Majesty’s Prisons after spending 7 years for rape.
Benjamin’s lawyer, Andre Thomas, pleaded profusely on behalf of his client for leniency from the learned judge. However, after numerous comparisons of similar cases, and what can be described as an emotionless apology to the husband of the deceased and the court, Justice Gilford stated that Benjamin displays no level of remorse. She referred to his crime and disposition as ‘perverted and sadistic.’ She added too that the aggravation factors of the case outweighed the mitigating factors, as she looked closely at the reports of the crime. Justice Gilford stated that there was a total disregard for human life on the part of Benjamin, and considered his crime as ‘sexualised and brutal.’
At one point the convicted man was given the opportunity to review the photos of Colker’s deceased body, and still he showed no emotion. Hence, she was even more convinced that he was not remorseful for his actions.
Despite the 2 years Benjamin spent on remand and numerous examples put forth by Benjamin’s lawyer, Justice Gilford stated that there was no way she could take these into consideration when casting her sentence. Therefore, in addition to the life-sentence to be served, Benjamin is required to undergo counselling and therapy and psychological assessment.
Senior Crown Council attached to the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Howard Pinnock, in an interview considered the case as historic, as “there was a dispute on the facts between the prosecution and the defence.” According to him, the DNA evidence alone could not have convicted Benjamin, but, his guilty plea was taken into consideration.
The evidence in this entire case was purely circumstantial, therefore the prosecution was taken with providing adequate and accurate evidence. The prosecution team was indeed satisfied with the verdict. However, Benjamin’s lawyer stated to the media that the sentence was, in fact, excessive, and assured that there will be an appeal.
Also present at the court was Benjamin’s father, who sternly stated to the media that he had no comment.