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Denroy Tittle returns to prison on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 to complete his 15-year sentence.
Denroy Tittle returns to prison on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 to complete his 15-year sentence.

A Union Island man who stabbed a fellow islander resulting in his death in an unprovoked attack on June 12, 2019 will spend a total of 15 years and four months in prison for murder.

Justice Brian Cottle handed down the sentence on Denroy Tittle, 40, at High Court No. 1, in Kingstown on Tuesday – Valentine’s Day.

However, Tittle had spent three years, seven months and 27 days on remand, which was deducted from his sentence, leaving him to serve a further 11 years, 8 months and three days behind bars.

The facts of the case, as presented by the judge, are that on June 12, 2019, Tittle  entered Vibes Hideout, a bar in Ashton, Union Island.

He approached the bartender and ordered food and drink and the bartender served him the items and told him the cost.

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 Tittle searched a bag he was carrying but apparently could not find the money to pay for the goods.

Richardo Stewart, who was a patron at the bar, had observed the interaction and advised the bartender to retain the goods because it appeared that Tittle was unable to pay.

 Tittle got angry and, using expletives, asked Stewart loudly if he wanted to be stabbed.

Stewart said, “Just so you want to stab up my mother****?”

Tittle took a knife from his bag and approached Stewart, who was backing away.

He stabbed at Stewart several times, but Stewart used a piece of bar furniture to parry most of the blows.

However, one stab penetrated Stewart’s abdomen and Tittle then grabbed the items he had ordered and ran out of the bar.

Stewart was taken to the Union Island Hospital where he was warded for two days before being transferred to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, where he died the following day.

Two days after Stewart’s death, one of Tittle’s cousins went to look for him and urged him to surrender himself, which he did.

Justice Cottle said Tittle left Union Island Primary School at Senior 2, aged 16 and is a diver by profession.

The judge noted the aims of criminal sentencing, namely deterrence, retribution, prevention and rehabilitation.

He pointed out that the Crown had not sought the death penalty in the case, adding that the killing was not among the worst of the worst.

The judge noted that the sentencing guidelines said that where someone takes a weapon to the scene of an offence to have it available and uses it to commit murder, it is sufficiently serious for the starting sentence to be 30 years

He noted that Tittle took a bladed weapon to the scene and used it to commit murder.

Justice Cottle, however, said there was nothing in the facts that speaks to Tittle’s intention in taking the weapon to the scene.

Therefore, based on the sentencing guidelines, the court adopted a starting point of 25 years, noting that the guidelines are to be followed.

The judge said that the attack was unprovoked, an aggravating feature, adding that it is clear that Tittle has anger control issues and perhaps his limited formal education may have left him ill-equipped to deal with conflict.

Justice Cottle pointed out that his lawyer, Israel Bruce, had suggested to the court that while what Stewart said to the bartender about Tittle did not reach a level of provocation to reduce the offence to manslaughter, it should be taken into account as a mitigating feature of the offence.

The judge said he did not agree, adding that in his view, by no stretch can the words spoken by the victim amount to provocation so as to be a mitigating feature of the offence.

The judge discerned no mitigating features of the offence and also no aggravating features of the offender.

Mitigating was that he had no previous relevant convictions, that he surrendered to police and cooperated with the investigation.

In the social inquiry report, Tittle also expressed remorse.

Considering the circumstances before Tittle entered a guilty plea, the judge accorded him the full one-third discount for the plea.

At Tuesday’s sentencing, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Karim Nelson appeared for the Crown while Charmaine Walters, holding papers for Israel Bruce, appeared on Tittle’s behalf.