Court: Thomas Sentenced For Manslaughter

October 13, 2017

[Written by Don Burgess + Updated]

Appearing in Supreme Court today [Oct 13], Mikiel Thomas was sentenced to 12 years in prison for manslaughter.

On March 5, 2017, Raymond Butterfield was stabbed twice just outside of Blue Waters Anglers Club.

In August of this year, Mr. Thomas, a footballer who played with the under-20 team, was cleared of the murder of Mr. Butterfield, however he was found guilty of manslaughter.

Update 5.27pm: Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons took into account that Mr Thomas should have known that “death could result in using a knife”, and the harm caused to the family of Mr Butterfield.

She told Mr Thomas he was culpable in that he acted alone and those factors together, placed this in the high-level of sentencing. But she added mitigating factors included Mr Thomas’ youth,and the fact he had no previous criminal history.

She said, “The Court places a high value particularly when your personal circumstances reveal that you are a talented football player who has had the honour and privilege of representing Bermuda.” She said any sentence would bring such a “promising” national football career to an end.

Earlier, the Court heard written statements from Mr Butterfield’s family, including his father, uncle  and the mother of his child.

His father said, “No parent should ever have to bury their child. It is the most anguishing, heart-wrenching emotional pain I have ever experienced. Most especially agonising and tormenting to my heart and soul is the heinous manner in which my son died.

“Although my friends may think that this grief will end in a set time frame, in real life, this grief, sorrow, pain and heartache will never end. It is just the beginning of a new life for me; one I never imagined or wanted.

“Every day for the rest of my life I will have to live with this deep sorrow that my only son was knifed to death in the prime of his life.”

His Uncle wrote that it would be difficult for others to feel true empathy for the family unless they had gone through similar circumstances saying, “The family still has to deal with the reality that RJ was taken from us; is not here; will never come back.”

He added that there is now pain every day when family members have to drive past The Blue Waters Anglers Club. “It is not a very good start to a work day or whatever we may be doing at the time.”

The mother of Mr Butterfied’s child, in her statement, wrote that there “are no words in the English dictionary” for what she and her daughter will feel for the rest of their lives.

“I loved to be around him, and it hurts that he’s not here. He was lovable, peaceful, hard-working person. He loved to play football and losing him to this crime has caused tension and heartbreak in the local football community,” she said.

Mr Thomas offered his condolences to the Butterfield family. He claimed, “This doesn’t define me as a person,” adding that “I hope we can move forward from this tragedy because in life we live and we learn. In cases like this, where someone passes on, nobody wins, everyone suffers.”

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