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Rivers declines to testify, partner takes stand

Murder accused William Ian Rivers declined to take the stand on Friday (7 September) in his Grand Court trial.

However, his defense team put his partner of 19 years, Loretta Ebanks, on the stand and she testified to Mr. Rivers history of mental complaints and shed more light on the series of events leading up to the murder of Mark “Hubba” Seymour.

Ms. Ebanks painted a picture of Mr. Rivers as troubled with mental complaints throughout the time she knew him including depressive moods and hearing voices.

These issues would often get worse, she said, when he found himself out of work and unable to take care of his family. Days before the event, Mr. Rivers had not slept or eaten and had been drinking heavily.

Ms. Ebanks said she and other family members would often encourage Mr. Rivers to seek help, but beyond briefly taking anti-depressants in 2007, he didn’t.

She also said Mr. Rivers was a good father and was not abusive to his family. During his three hour stand-off with police, Ms. Ebanks said she played peek-a-boo with their baby girl and reports that he held a gun to their heads disturbed the children greatly.

Defense lawyer, Crister Brady, then asked about rumours of Ms. Ebanks having borrowed money from Mr. Seymour, which she denied. However, she admitted that she did ask Mr. Seymour for a loan since neither she nor mr. Rivers was working. She said she did not get one.

Ms. Ebanks also said Mr. Seymour was someone she didn’t speak to much.

She admitted that a week before the shooting, Mr. Rivers had asked her about the loan request. She said it was likely that he might have heard “talk” in the community about it.

Later under cross examination by lead prosecutor, Queen’s Counsel, Cheryll Richards, Ms. Ebanks admitted that she and Mr. Seymour were in a relationship in their teens.

When asked if she thought this, as well as rumours that she may have shared a sexual relationship with Mr. Seymour may have inflamed the situation, Ms. Ebanks admitted that it may have.

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