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Taximan gets life in prison for murder of Trinidadian teacher

BY ANTHONY LEWIS & HORACE HINES Observer reporters

Thursday, July 24, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Ivan Taylor, the man who was found guilty of the murder of Trinidadian schoolteacher Michelle Coudray-Greaves, was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment when he appeared in the St James Circuit Court before Justice Courtney Daye.

The 48-year-old will not be eligible for parole before 30 years

Taylor, like the occasion when he was found guilty in May this year, yesterday showed no emotion when the judge handed down his sentence.

The victim's mother, Marlene Coudray, who flew from Trinidad for the sentencing, yesterday expressed relief at the closure of the case.

"[I am] still distressed but a lot relieved; I still don't have my daughter and the children are still without their mother but I am comfortable with the verdict and that justice has prevailed," Coudray told members of the media shortly after leaving court.

"Since the verdict it has been a little relief for us because all the evidence pointed to him. She put so much trust in him as a taxi operator and that's what he did. To me it is a very senseless thing and I still need to know why. That question was not answered...," she told reporters.

A parliamentarian, Coudray said that she was impressed with Jamaica's justice system.

"What Trinidadians are surprised about is the fast rate at which this trial took place (within two years). They really expressed pleasure that they were quite pleased that within two years they were able to get a verdict," she said.

"... I think that augured well for everything. In Trinidad cases drag on and on and I keep saying the manner in which the whole team -- the police officers, the DPP herself -- pulled together [despite] difficulties in getting certain evidence. And to me everyone did their best to get this case to trial. And it happened quickly, given the justice system all over."

Coudray-Greaves went missing on June 2, 2012. Nine days later her charred remains were discovered in a canefield in Montego Bay.

A post-mortem concluded that she died as a result of blows to the head, inflicted by a blunt instrument.

Taylor, a Westmoreland-based taxi operator was subsequently arrested and charged for the death of the Trinidadian schoolteacher.

On May 22, 2014 a 12-member jury, comprising four men and eight women, after deliberating for more than three hours, found him guilty of murder.

During the trial, the jury was presented with eyewitness reports, DNA evidence, dental identification and cellphone records.

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