Tears as man receives six years for killing his lover

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 12:00am

A father of four cried and clung to the rails of the dock yesterday as he was jailed for six years for killing his lover with a wooden stool.

Reynaldo Francisco, 49, who attempted suicide following the tragedy last July, shook his head as Mrs Justice Verina Bokhary announced his fate in the Court of First Instance.

A jury cleared the domestic helper of murdering Dionisia Guillermo, 27, but convicted him on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

He had denied murder but admitted manslaughter. Prosecutors did not accept the pleas.

Francisco, whose wife and children live in the Philippines, hit Guillermo, his girlfriend in Hong Kong, in a dispute at his workplace, Pak Sha O Youth Hostel, Sai Kung.

He claimed she had branded him a stupid, useless, old man when he refused to give her $1,000.

Edward Laskey, in mitigation, said: 'He deeply regretted this within probably seconds of committing the act.' Francisco swallowed insecticide after the incident, taking twice the potential lethal dose, Mr Laskey said. Police found him lying on the floor of the bathroom after appearing to have vomited.

Guillermo died of brain injuries before arriving at hospital.

'This is a bad case of manslaughter since someone was killed by being struck on the head by a hard and heavy object.

'But it is not the worst category of manslaughter,' Mrs Justice Bokhary said.

'Your remorse is deep and genuine. This is evident by the fact that you tried to take your own life and by the distress you've obviously been in throughout the trial,' she said.

She adopted a starting point of eight years' imprisonment and reduced it by two years to reflect the man's previous good character, voluntary work, remorse and plea of guilty to manslaughter.