Ex-soldier found guilty of killing friend

first_imgFormer Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officer Alistair Woolford, who was discharged from the Army after shooting his friend nearly four years ago, was on Monday found guilty of manslaughter.Alistair WoolfordA 12-member jury after three hours of deliberation found him guilty of discharging a loaded firearm at Devon Howell with intent to murder him on November 21, 2014 at D’Andrade Street, Kitty, Georgetown.The verdict was returned 10-2 in favour of conviction as Woolford’s friends and family members turned out in their numbers to offer him support. He had little reaction when the decision was read in court. Howell’s relatives were also present. It was only last week that the accused said that Howell’s death was accidental and noted that he was only joking around when he squeezed the trigger.Woolford told the court last week that he trusted that his squaddie, Jonathon Williams, would not have given him a firearm with live rounds inside. He had also expressed that he sincerely believed that the firearm, which was a 9mm silver GDF service pistol, was empty.Howell was hospitalised after the incident, but succumbed to his injuries on December 8, 2014.Woolford’s friend, Jonathan Williams, had testified that he left his service pistol on top Woolford’s fridge before he used the washroom. According to reports back then, Woolford and Howell were taking turns feeling the gun Russian roulette style when Howell was shot in the neck.Government Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh has given the cause of death as “respiratory failure” as a result of fractures to the spine. He observed a circular wound to the neck. He said that he saw wounds to the front and back of the neck.Howell reportedly received injuries to his upper spinal cord, and died without regaining consciousness. Woolford will be sentenced by Justice Sandil Kissoon when his court resumes in August. The defendant was represented by Attorneys Compton Richardson and Hewley Griffith while State Counsels Mandell Moore and Abigail Gibbs prosecuted the case.last_img