Family of Nicole Reyes have vowed to get her out of Caribbean jail
THE family of a Cardiff mother who will spend the next 12 years in a Caribbean jail have vowed to get her out.
Nicole Reyes, 39, from Rumney, appeared in court in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday where she was handed a 12-year prison sentence for killing her husband Jorge, 38, after a crash between her Jeep and his motorbike.
Nicole, who has two teenage children at home in Cardiff, was sentenced for voluntary manslaughter. But she has always maintained that her husband’s death in July 2012 was an accident.
Her parents, Jeannette and Mike Clements, flew out to the Caribbean where Nicole has already spent the last 18 months and called it a “miscarriage of justice”.
Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty, who said he has been in close contact with Nicole’s family and raised issues on their behalf, said he remains “deeply concerned” about her case.
He said: “Clearly this news is devastating for them. I am awaiting a full read-out of the conduct of the trial and judicial processes from the Foreign Office, and I have asked for an urgent assessment to be made of the concerns the family are raising. They are clearly raising some very serious concerns about the conduct of the trial and the evidence that was and wasn’t heard, and these need to be urgently investigated. An apparent two-hour trial for such serious charges does not fill me with any confidence as to the processes.
“My priorities have always been that Nicole received a free and fair trial, and that her health and wellbeing were prioritised. I am deeply concerned on both fronts”
Jeannette, 62, said she remains concerned about her daughter’s health. She said the shop in the Santiago prison where Nicole buys her food had no food for a week and that Nicole, who has to take 18 tablets a day for health issues including kidney stones, was eating only about 300 calories a day.
She said she does not believe her daughter received a fair trial and said she will continue to fight for her release.
She said: “The consulate from the British Embassy is going to get in touch with the Foreign Office and he said he’s going to put it down that she did not receive a fair trial. We have to wait for the paperwork from the court and then we can appeal.”
Jeannette said Nicole was not allowed back into her cell after the hearing.
She said: “They stripped it now she’s convicted in case she’s going to try to do something.”
Jeannette said: “When you think we’ve got to go through all this again. We’ve got to get money for the lawyer to go to the next stage, then the money to come over again and you’ve still got to fight.
“But where is this money going to come from? Where is it going to come from for the lawyer? This is the thing that frightens me more than anything.”
Jeannette explained how a police officer spoke during the hearing in Puerto Plata about what he saw that day and that Jorge’s sister and brother also gave evidence.
Jeannette said: “We thought everything was going our way. Then all of a sudden they called Jorge’s sister even though she signed a statement to say it was an accident. Then his brother went up as well. The embassy people and our lawyers just couldn’t believe it.
“Jorge’s sister said he [Jorge] didn’t want to be with Nicole and that he had said she was crazy.
“How can they accept what his sister said when she wasn’t even there?”
Jeannette said Nicole was allowed to speak to the judges about what happened but when she wanted to answer back to what Jorge’s sister and brother had said she wasn’t allowed to.
Jeannette said: “All she could say was what happened that night. Even when our lawyer was speaking he cut him off and wouldn’t allow him to speak. Out of the blue he said that’s enough.
“Everybody came out and nobody could believe it. There’s nobody there that actually saw the accident. How can you do a trial in such a short time?”
But she said Nicole remained “very calm” during the hearing. She said: “I asked her to show she wasn’t at breaking point.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it is monitoring events closely.
Read related news in Spanish here: Tribunal condena a 12 años de prisión a una británica por la comisión de homicidio
Category: DR News |