By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A WOMAN testifying in the Shande Cartwright murder trial could not hold back her tears yesterday when shown a photo of her deceased daughter on a table at the Rand Morgue.
Mary Cartwright had told a 12-member jury moments before this that she’d last seen her daughter alive on November 21, 2010 at her home and that she was “happy, very happy.”
Cartwright said the next time she saw her eldest daughter was at the Princess Margaret Hospital’s Rand Lab two days later when she had to identify her body.
Douglas Pratt sat in the caged dock behind his lawyer, Murrio Ducille, as the mother gave her evidence on the witness stand.
Pratt, 27, of Yamacraw Estates, faces a charge of murder, which he denies.
It is claimed that he, on November 22, 2010, intentionally caused the death of 22-year-old Cartwright, the country’s 86th murder victim for that year.
On the night in question, Cartwright, who was a client service representative at the Royal Bank of Canada, was found dead at Adelaide Beach with multiple stab wounds in her body.
Pratt, the father of Cartwright’s children, was arraigned four days later in connection the incident.
Yesterday, before Cartwright’s mother took the stand, the jury heard evidence from detective Corporal 2600 Trevor McKinney.
Officer McKinney testified that on November 23, he was given information that led him to an area in Adelaide known as “The Farm” where he met with a senior officer who gave additional information and instructions.
The scenes of the crime officer said he photographed the area and saw the body of a dead woman behind a coconut tree. Not far from the body was a blanket, a box of pizza and a wine bottle.
When cross-examined by Mr Ducille, the officer was asked how far the body was from the blanket.
“Five feet,” the officer replied.
“Was the bottle opened?” Mr Ducille asked.
“I can’t recall,” Cpl McKinney answered.
“Was there any pizza there?” the lawyer also asked. The officer said “one or two slices was missing.”
Mrs Cartwright was called to the witness stand not long afterwards and was questioned by prosecutor Algernon Allen II.
Mr Allen asked her if she was familiar with the name “Shande Cartwright.”
“Yes,” she said, “Shande is my eldest daughter.”
“When last did you see your daughter?” Mr Allen asked.
“I saw her on the 21st of November 2010,” she answered, adding that it was at her home in Pinewood Gardens and that her daughter was “happy, very happy.”
“Do you know Douglas Pratt?” the prosecutor asked.
“Yes. He was involved with my daughter, he had a relationship with my daughter,” the jury heard from the mother.
When asked if she was able to identify him if she ever saw him again, she said that he was seated in the box in the courtroom.
“Do you know how long your daughter was in a relationship with Douglas Pratt?” Mr Allen asked.
“Almost three years I think,” Mrs Cartwright said.
“During the course of that relationship, did she have any children?” the prosecutor further inquired. “Yes, she did,” the mother replied.
When asked if her daughter was in a relationship on the day she last saw her, the mother answered “not to my knowledge.”
Mrs Cartwright said the next time she saw her eldest daughter was at the Princess Margaret Hospital’s Rand Lab two days later when she, accompanied by relatives, had to identify her body.
The prosecutor asked Senior Justice Jon Isaacs if the witness could be shown the first photo in an exhibited photo album of the deceased at the Rand lab.
The judge nodded and when the court clerk showed her, the mother broke down at the sight of the photograph, which showed a facial view of her 22-year-old daughter.
Mr Ducille had no questions for the witness who was excused from the witness stand. She had to be taken from court by a supporter as her sobbing grew louder.
The trial resumes today.