More witnesses testify in mysterious disappearance of Vincia James

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By Latrishka Thomas

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The prosecution, led by Montserrat’s Director of Public Prosecutions Oris Sullivan, called three more witnesses yesterday in the long-awaited murder trial of Mikhail Gomes.

Gomes is said to have killed his ex-girlfriend, Vincia James, in 2017.

James, 28, was last seen on surveillance camera leaving her Old Parham Road workplace, Dixie Betting Company, shortly after 1pm on April 7, 2017 but she has never been found.

The prosecution believes that she died at the hands of Gomes and is trying to convince 11 jurors – two of which are alternates – of that, based primarily on circumstantial evidence.

The trial began on Friday with James’ mother, Jeriann Haywood who set the foundation for the case.

She disclosed that Gomes and James had an “on and off” relationship which was riddled with arguments.

She said that she last spoke to her daughter at 8am on the day in question and James had a doctor’s appointment for her son that afternoon.

The mother said she called James several times and got no answer and decided to contact Gomes who only returned her call the next day.

Yesterday, a woman who has been friends with James since secondary school essentially confirmed that the mother of one has not been in contact with her friends since April 7, 2017.

Cymone Hughes, the elder sister of James was next to testify.

She too claimed that Gomes and James had a rocky relationship.

Hughes said she had even seen her sister with bruises and a black eye.

She said that since she had a good relationship with Gomes she asked him about her sister’s eye and he said “they were playing around, his elbow hit her in her eye” – an explanation which James piggy-backed on.

Hughes said it wasn’t until around 6pm on April 7 that she noticed that her sister was not at home yet and slowly grew worried.

She said she and the rest of the family called both her phone and that of Gomes, assuming they were together, but got no answer.

According to her, on the next day, at 6am, Gomes called back her mother and since her mother was in tears she took the phone and asked the defendant for her sister.

Hughes said that Gomes claimed to not know where James was and added that he didn’t pick her up because she had a ride.

Hughes did not believe and therefore continued to ask more questions.

She said Gomes then said “okay Cymone, me drop she off in a tung ‘cause she say she don’t want [the father of her child] to see me and she together”.

Hughes said she later saw the defendant on Facebook and proceeded to ask more questions but got no answers.

In cross examining Hughes, Attorney Lawrence Daniels reviewed call records from Gomes’ phone which showed that Hughes never called Gomes from the number she claimed to have been using at the time.

He also had copies of a Facebook conversation apparently between Gomes and Hughes where she is asking for her sister’s whereabouts.

Daniels asked the witness about it but she did not recall having that conversation.

The lawyer was insinuating that the telephone conversation Hughes claimed to have had on the telephone with the accused was actually a Facebook conversation.

A security officer where James worked then told the court that she saw Gomes drop off and pick up James regularly but she did not see the defendant pick her up on April 7.

The final witness for the day was the father of James’ son.

He told the court that he and James had an “understanding” in relation to their son, but ended their relationship shortly after his birth.

He said on the day James went missing they were to meet a doctor for their son’s surgery but when he got there with their son, James was not there.

He also denied having any involvement in her disappearance.

The trial will continue this afternoon.

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