Year in Review

November: Trial of the Century

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November saw two cases regarding high-profile deaths proceed in the courts. 

The trial of Kamal Worrell, a former lawyer, started on November 17 and saw him charged with murdering the mother of his child, Chavelle Dillon-Burgess. 

Ms Dillon-Burgess went missing in April 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 shelter-in-place regulations. 

Her disappearance baffled the community, raising questions of how someone could disappear on an island on lockdown, and the public rallied during a months-long search for her. 

The Where’s Chavelle? campaign, which called for her return home, nearly rivalled reporting on the then-novel coronavirus. 

To this day, Ms Dillon-Burgess has not been found. 

Mr Worrell was charged on March 2, 2021, and denied killing her on an unknown date between April 10 and June 11, 2020, as well as a string of assault charges from 2019 and a wounding charge from 2018. 

The trial, which started on November 9, featured stories of alleged abuse and violence, painting Mr Worrell and Ms Dillon-Burgess’s relationship as one marked by arguments and toxicity. 

Friends and family of the missing woman spoke of how they frequently saw the couple arguing and how Ms Dillon-Burgess often shared her complaints and a desire to leave. 

They also spoke of horrific allegations of controlling and abusive behaviour, including beatings, threats, controlling what Ms Burgess ate and refusing to let her see their infant child. 

Mr Worrell argued that Ms Dillon-Burgess was an explosive and temperamental woman, which forced him to defend himself and keep her from their son for his own protection. 

He suggested that Ms Dillon-Burgess had a history of secrecy and likely left their home and, later, the island without anyone noticing. 

The trial was also marked with stalls and days of adjournment, including an instance where Mr Worrell took himself to the hospital because he cut himself shaving — the first time in Bermuda’s history a trial had been delayed for such an occurrence. 

Mr Worrell’s injury was deemed superficial and he did not receive any stitches for the close shave. 

The murder trial carried on into December and will resume in January 2024. 

November also saw a former Progressive Labour Party senator charged with the May death of much loved footballer Marco Warren. 

Curtis Richardson was charged with causing Mr Warren’s death by driving a vehicle, which had a taxi licence plate, in Hamilton Parish without due care and attention. 

The 48-year-old, who was charged in Magistrates’ Court on November 8, was not required to enter a plea because the matter must be heard in the Supreme Court. 

Mr Warren, 29, played for PHC Zebras and Bermuda, and worked as a programme co-ordinator with the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation. 

He was found on North Shore Road, just west of Trinity Church Road, at about 3.15am and was pronounced dead soon after. 

Outrage followed his death, as many mourned the loss of a beloved and talented figure. 

As of recording, Mr Richardson has not entered a plea. 

November also saw the disappearance of a teenager who went missing for three weeks out of the month. 

Ajahni Lema-Bascome, 16, was first reported last seen at about 11.30pm on November 9 in the Slippery Hill area of St George’s. 

His disappearance soon reached a week without any sightings or warnings. 

By Week 3, police assured the community that “someone knows where Ajahni is” and believed that “complicit adults” were harbouring the teenager. 

Soon after, people “closely associated with Ajahni” told police that he was safe and well, but appeared unwilling or unable to reveal his presence. 

Police reminded the public that Ajahni was still a juvenile and that harbouring him was an offence punishable by law that could result in a fine of up to $3,000 or up to six months in jail. They added that they had no evidence of harm being inflicted on him. 

The disappearance happened shortly after Raquel Sofia Sousa Sequeira, aged 15, returned home on November 5 having disappeared for about a week. A second disappearance would follow for her in December, this time lasting two weeks. 

However, Ajahni remains at large, having been last spotted by police on December 21 in Spanish Point, Pembroke, before taking evasive action. 

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