A British-born businessman, convicted on a charge of non-capital murder in December following the brutal murder his wife whose partly decomposed body was found inside a suitcase in a shallow grave in June, 2014 at Mt. Moritz, St. George’s has been sentenced to sixty-seven years in prison.
Chief High Court Judge, Justice Paula Gilford presiding at the Number One Supreme Court in St. George’s handed down what many described as a landmark judgment just after mid-day on Monday sentencing the British businessman Alexander Robert Clack, former manager of Red Shield Security Company, service provider for the Real Value Supermarket and founder of Grenada’s first online food service to sixty-seven years and six months behind bars for the murder of his wife Nixiann Downes- Clack.
Nixiann’s battered and partly decomposed body was dug up from a shallow grave in the village of Mt. Moritz some five days after she was reported missing. Her husband who initially denied any knowledge of his wife’s whereabouts when confronted by the police, later admitted to the killing and took the police to the place where he had buried the body assisted by his babysitter.
Medical experts attributed the cause of death to blunt force trauma to the head and asphyxiation by strangulation. The experts further confirmed eighteen different injuries, among them, broken jaw, fractured skull and other broken bones.
The June 2014 murder left many in shock, however there were those who felt that it was just a matter of time, as Nixiann had been the victim of prolonged domestic violence that took a turn for the worse as her husband became intimately involved with their babysitter whom he admitted to having sex with on the matrimonial bed.
Before the sentencing of the court on Monday, Clack’s lawyer Anselm Clouden, in a plea of mitigation asked the court to take into consideration the issue of provocation given that his client had claimed that he was attacked on the day in question by his wife before taking the fight to her resulting in her death.
Clack came to Grenada in 2009 having met his wife in England but according to Clouden he did not just come to Grenada and waste time. He was a man of industry he noted, a number of Grenadians were gainfully employed by him. On this note the lawyer begged the court to take into consideration his previously clean record, time spent on remand and to provide him the opportunity at some stage to be a father to the only child that he and his wife shared, four year old Fade Clack. He asked the court to consider a time limit in sentencing rather than life in prison.
During the trial Clack, with tears in his eyes told the court that he had loved his wife and never intended to kill her, he went on to say that the decision to bury the body was the doing of his babysitter Britney Baptiste but moments before he placed his wife in the hole he parted her hair and told her he was sorry.
Before handing down sentence judge Gilford told Clack that he had not convinced the court that he was ever remorseful for his action. She added that what happened on that day was a clear case of domestic violence, something that had been going on for some time and he was able to get his wife to hide the injuries. She went on to say that from all indications, Clack had no respect for women having two intimate relationships in the same house. Additionally, in his delivery to the jury from the witness dock he attempted to demonize his dead wife as someone not fit to be a mother, and who had several other relationships, knowing fully well she was not around to defend herself.
Added to that, the judged said, the brutal killing was done in the present of their daughter.
Judge Gilford ended by calling on women in the community to speak out against domestic violence, women she said must be free to make decisions of their own and live by those decisions. One case of domestic violence, she noted is one too many.
Gilford bluntly said the court would not give any consideration to provocation but would administer a sentence that would send a clear message, reflect the seriousness on the case, act as a deterrent, and would provide the opportunity for rehabilitation. The judge described the case as one that met the threshold of life in prison, and called for a very serious sentence, therefore taking into consideration time already spent on remand Clack was sentenced to sixty-seven years and six months in prison to commence from the date of sentence.
The judge also recommended counseling for his four year-old daughter.
Shortly after Monday’s sentencing Clouden told the media it was quite an unusual sentence and announced his intention to appeal at the appropriate time. According to him although it is a fixed term, it is a life sentence, the first of its kind ever administered in Grenada.
When asked why the individual who assisted Clack in the disposal of the body was not charged, Clouden said that was the doing of the investigating team, but strictly speaking he said, Britney Baptiste should have been charged as an accomplice. She was the reason for what happened between Clack and his wife, the one he called after the killing and who helped him get rid of the body on family land.