Convicted killer Schenato dies, victim’s daughter says the fight for justice is over

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Convicted murderer Umberto Schenato died as a prisoner of the state on Monday (File photo)
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By Makeida Antonio

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The daughter of the woman stabbed to death in the parking lot of Epicurean Fine Foods and Pharmacy almost 10 years ago has spoken out after learning that the killer Umberto Schenato has passed away in an elderly care facility.

The Italian convict died at the Fiennes Institute on Monday night at the age of 81. He had been removed from Her Majesty’s Prison in 2020 for health reasons, while serving a 20-year prison sentence for the 2013 murder of his wife, Edda.

Jacquie Bartlett told Observer yesterday that she can finally rest now that there is no chance of Schenato being released, after the pain he has caused to her family.

“It’s a little bit of processing all of this for sure, but I think as a family we can all sleep better knowing that we don’t have that threat of the possibilities of him being released. What he’s capable of has obviously been proven by what he did to my mom.

“My fight has always been to make sure that justice is served, and in this case it was not, but the fight is finally over,” Bartlett said yesterday in an interview.

She recognised the work of activist Mary John who she said was committed to helping her family provide justice.

“Without her none of this would of been possible and we would not even know he was released or died. She was an angel to us,” she said.

Residents like John protested the elderly man’s transfer to the Fiennes Institute in 2020, which the government said was necessary while he underwent rehabilitative treatment.

The Prison Superintendent at the time, Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Phillip, said that Schenato, who was 80 at the time of the transfer, had been in hospital for an extended period after falling and injuring his hip.

Bartlett remains adamant that full justice has not been received by the family and questioned the government’s decision to remove him from the prison in the first place.

“He didn’t serve his true time in prison and so the justice system in Antigua has failed. He was put amongst innocent people in a retirement institution which is completely irresponsible of the government, and the justice system, for allowing this to even be a consideration,” she claimed.

Additionally, the alleged lack of communication between the government of Antigua and Barbuda and Edda’s family has been a longstanding grievance, according to Bartlett.

“There was actually zero communication back then; we did a petition, it was like we were completely ignored and dismissed. That’s what the frustrating piece was. They didn’t even acknowledge that this was happening. Between petitions and boycotting the place, there’s been so much effort and time that has been put in,” she said.

Schenato’s body has been placed under the authority of officers at the prison. Acting Superintendent of Prisons, Jermaine Anthony, said no decision had yet been made on his funeral arrangements.

Meanwhile, Matron at the Fiennes Institute, Clarissa Christopher, told Observer that it is likely that Schenato died of natural causes.

Bartlett said while she does not wish ill to anyone, she believes that her mother is in a better place.

“He definitely won’t be going to the same place that my mom is living. She is in heaven and I feel that now she can rest, our whole family can rest, and the fight is over.

“I don’t wish death upon anybody obviously, and he died from natural causes from what I hear, so the fight is over,” she added.

She has thanked friends in Antigua that were there to support her family and her mother.

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