BVI News

Former bank worker gets 9 years for murder attempt

Matthew Hazel attending court on February 26, 2015

Former bank employee Matthew Hazel will spend nine years in prison in relation to the attempted robbery and attempted murder of an off-duty police officer outside the bank where he was employed in 2015.

He was sentenced in the High Court this afternoon, May 15.

Justice Nichola Byer sentenced Hazel to nine years for the attempted murder, four years for the attempted robbery, and six years for the firearm. She ‘reprimanded and discharged’ him in relation to the ammunition charge.

Justice Byer ruled that Hazel should serve all the prison sentences at the same time, effectively meaning that he will spend only nine years at Her Majesty’s Prison.

“Given the fact that the offences occurred from the same incident, the sentences will run concurrently,” Justice Byer said.

She noted that the sentences will start from the time Hazel was first remanded. Hazel has been in prison for about a year and two months, the judge said.

She went on to state that: “There is no evidence that the defendant (Hazel) is pre-disposed to re-offending.”

The night of the crime

The prosecution led evidence that Sergeant Darville Carty collected money from OneMart Supermarket and went to First Caribbean Bank in Road Town to deposit the funds on February 15, 2015.

He reached the bank just after midnight.

After reaching the night deposit box, the officer used his key to open it; then returned to his vehicle that was parked nearby.

At that point, he was accosted by a gunman, who was wearing a white ‘scary movie mask’.

The gunman pointed his weapon at the officer’s head and then fired a shot at him.

The officer managed to evade the bullet, and the gunman then demanded money.

The cop inquired what money the gunman was asking about, and the offender discharged a second round.

Thereafter, the police officer told the gunman that the money was in his car. The gunman went to the car and started to search for the money.

After coming up empty handed, he again approached the police officer who – at that time – had his firearm.

The officer discharged the weapon and the gunman fled. The cop then gave chase.

It is further said that, upon reaching the vicinity of the Palm Grove building in Road Town, the gunman turned around and shot at the officer.

The officer fired back, and the gunman fell, and reportedly removed his mask.

The court heard that, shortly afterwards, the offender continued to run while still being armed.

Upon reaching a lit area, he turned around to shoot at the officer another time. At that point, the officer reportedly managed to identify the gunman as Hazel.

The chase continued, and eventually concluded after Hazel reportedly evaded the officer.

The scene of the shooting was later processed and a revolver handgun, a scary movie mask, as well as several empty cartridges and live rounds were recovered.

Hazel was met moments later suffering from a gunshot wound at Peebles Hospital.

On February 24, Hazel was discharged from the hospital and taken to the Road Town Police Station where an interview was conducted with him. Forensic samples were also obtained for testing.

Hazel, up to the time of the shooting, was a receptionist at First Caribbean Bank for three years.

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