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22 Years for Murdering Captain Drew Gollan

11 February 2012 - St. John’s Antigua- Sylvester “X Tool” Lindsey of Potters was yesterday sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing Australian boat captain Drew Gollan on January 22, 2009.

High Court Judge Richard Floyd, in imposing the sentence, considered the time Lindsey, 24, was on remand. “The three years you spent in prison is time served,” Justice Floyd said.

The trial for the 2009 slaying began last November with Lindsey professing his innocence. He  changed his plea to guilty two days later, after the jury visited the crime scene.

Before that, the court heard that Lindsey and at least three friends were on a joyride in the English Harbour area when Gollan, his wife and child were spotted walking along Pigeon Point main road.

Lindsey reportedly ordered the driver to stop the rented minivan at the bottom of the road. He exited and retreated to where Gollan and his family were walking.

Lindsey made demands for money, but the Australian man did not comply.

Golan, who had a knapsack in his possession, used the bag to defend himself, hitting Lindsey in the head.

The Potters man then pulled out a handgun and discharged three rounds into Gollan’s chest. One of the bullets pierced the deceased’s heart and left lung.

Golan died as a result of massive internal haemorrhage due to penetrating wounds to the heart and lung owing to gunshot injuries.

Lindsey ran back to the van and it drove from the area, leaving a dying Gollan behind.

Gollan was rushed to Holberton Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Justice Floyd deemed the gunning down of the Australian man “cold-blooded and brutal,” and said Gollan had no chance of survival.

The court looked at the four principles of sentencing – retribution, deterrence, prevention and rehabilitation – in determining Lindsey’s sentence.

“I have no doubt the incident occurred as a result of an attempted robbery,” Justice Floyd said.

“What sets (Lindsey) apart from his friends is that he was armed with a handgun, which is the most aggravating factor. You wantonly gunned down Mr Gollan and inflicted, not one, but three shots. This was an act of cowardice, a brutal act of violence. There was no act of compassion,” Justice Floyd said.

The judge concluded that Lindsey’s intent was to rob Gollan, and he was willing to resort to violence to achieve his goal.

“Evidence was called and tested and it was overwhelming. The court has taken into account the aggravating and mitigating factors,” Justice Floyd said.

The judge also lamented that the use of handguns is on the rise in Antigua & Barbuda, and said there must be some deterrence to would-be offenders.

“Guns are not used for hunting. They have one purpose: to kill humans. There is a proliferation of handguns in Antigua & Barbuda, and this is a concern for the court.

“Citizens want to feel secure, and visitors want to know they can walk the streets safely,” Justice Floyd said.

He referenced the request of Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, Lindsey’s attorney, for a 16-year prison sentence similar to that imposed by Justice Mario Michel on Surinamese-born Bryan Frederik Soerwidjojo, who also pleaded guilty to murder.

Justice Floyd said the Soerwidjojo case is distinguishable from Lindsey’s matter.

In the case of the Surinamese man, his victim stumbled upon him during a house breaking. Justice Floyd said Lindsey deliberately confronted Gollan, and despite not intending to kill him, planned on committing armed robbery.

Justice Floyd also said Soerwidjojo entered his guilty plea before the start of his trial, as opposed to Lindsey.

The judge later said that the 24-year-old Potters man was not a threat to society and that the crime did not require an indefinite sentence.

Justice Floyd said Lindsey could be rehabilitated given the positive remarks made about him in the social inquiry report. He said, though, that the prisoner should get a lesser discount than one-third for pleading guilty, taking the facts of the case into account.

“A message of deterrence must be sent,” Justice Floyd said.

During the trial, two witnesses, including Lindsey’s girlfriend, Francisca Morris, testified that they saw him shoot Golan.

His cousin, a taxi operator, told the court Lindsey admitted to him that he went to English Harbour to make a move and shot a Caucasian man after being hit in the head with a bag.

Lindsey reportedly showed his cousin the bump he sustained on his head as a result of the incident.

For those wishing to show support you can also post on Drew's Memorial Page on Facebook

Article: Antigua Observer News

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