Swain murder trial continues



Update 11th November 2009

Swain gets 25 years.......

The trial of David Swain(a former Dive Shop owner from Rhode Island) for killing his wife while scuba diving in 1999, has come to an end.

On 27 October 2009, a nine-member jury convicted Swain with a unanimous decision, of murdering his wife, Shelley Tyre, in what was described by authorities as a close to perfect crime.

Justice Indra Hariprashad-Charles, presiding over the trial, turned down a plea for leniency from David Swain's lawyers.

She has said the premeditated nature of the crime neccessitated the sentence. Nor will parole will be considered after 18 years as requested by the defence.

"It is my view that this murder was carefully planned and premeditated and calls for stiff punishment," Justice Hariprashad-Charles said during the sentencing.

Swain was given allowance for time already served.


JAMESTOWN, Rhode IslandThis morning as the murder trial against David Swain kicked off; Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Terrence Williams told the court the 53 year old accused planned to murder his wife Shelley Tyre in 1999 for wealth and a new lover.

"This is a case which starts with a marriage and ends with a murder - the wife dead at the bottom of the sea off Cooper Island. The husband at that time having come up from the dive boat, anxious for what would be the profit of his deed, money and the chance to explore a new love life with a new lady. The case that we will present to you will show you what he would benefit from killing his wife and motive of his new love life which he had gotten himself involved in for which the wife had stood in the way of", Williams told jurors in his opening address this morning.



Swain, a United States citizen who is charged with the murder of his 46 year old wife appeared placid in court today while family members in his support and relatives of the deceased were also present. Several international media representatives are also covering the trial.

Swain, a scuba shop owner who has been at Her Majesty's Prison for over two years is being represented by Defense Lawyers Hayden Sinclair Douglas and Patrick Thompson.

Williams in rolling out the Prosecution case stated that, two couples which were the Swains and Christian and Bernice Thwaites, and the Thwaites's nine-year-old son, Matthew in March 1999 came to the BVI on vacation.

"They came from Rhode Island US. Mr. Swain was a very experienced diver, had top quality experience in diving and owned a diving shop and Shelly was also an experienced diver. She had dived over 300 hundred times. Mr. Thwaites was also an experienced diver … This case is where Shelley on her discovery had almost 2 thirds of her air in her tank and there was no sign of any attack upon her by any sea creature. Her face mask when found revealed that the strap which holds the face mask together was broken apart. The mouth piece of the snorkel was detached, which can only be detached by violent force."

"Strangely one of her fins was off your foot and was discovered standing up, stuck in the sand. You will hear it could not have fallen off her foot and stuck in the sand like that. That same fin revealed something else. At the back of the fin there is a strap that holds it together. On that fin the strap was pushed down underneath the sole of the fin without the strap being loosen from its position. There would be no need for Shelley to take off her fin while swimming, or by pulling the strap down beneath the heel. For that to happen it must have been a violent force brought onto that fin."

The DPP told the jurors that on the day of her death, it was agreed by the two couples for one couple to enter the water at a time and the Swains went down first, but only Mr. Swain came up back and Mr. Thwaites found a motionless Shelley under the water a few minutes later.

"So when David dived, he knew no one would come behind him under the water. He knew he had time alone with Shelley. After little more than half hour, Swain returned to the surface. Mr. Thwaites dived, he first discovered Shelley's fin in this strange position and after a few moments he swam some more and he saw Shelley lying face up without her face mask and mouth piece and no activity coming from her."

Further, Williams told the jurors that Swain's actions when Shelley was brought up on the charter yacht spoke volumes.

"He (Thwaites) brought her to the surface and did what he was trained to do in starting to give her mouth to mouth resuscitation. Swain came by in the dingy and he only momentarily did CPR. You will hear how short his CPR was. When Mr. Thwaites wanted to continue to do CPR, Swain said no and stopped him from making any other attempts to do CPR on Shelley. One of the rules of diving which Swain would have thought to divers - is that when you rescue someone in that condition you must give that person CPR until you are physically unable to do more, or a doctor comes along…This was his wife. Mr. Thwaites tried to go on the radio to call emergency, but Swain said don't do that, I don't want any crowd to gather, words to that effect…He called VISAR….She was taken into Tortola and was declared dead and the post mortem revealed no medical reason for her death but obviously she drowned because she took in water."

Williams stated that the couple signed an agreement which would see Mr. Swain not getting any monies from Shelley who was wealthy, following a divorce. However, prior to her marriage she made a will that will on her death make Mr. Swain a wealthy man. "So if they got divorced he would get nothing and if she died he would be wealthy."

The DPP stated that Swain then got closely connected to another woman and when his wife died he followed up on the woman to pursue a relationship. Williams said that woman will be called as a witness via video link.

"You would see that Mr. Swain's business was not making money. It was her (Shelley - a Principal for a School in the US) salary from time to time which kept the dive shop opened…You will see in this case that we present to you that they dived together, he attacked her and caused the mouth piece to be removed from her mouth which would give her air from the tank and that would make her struggle, make her gasping where there is nothing to gasp. She did struggle because on her swimming gear there are marks that she struggled. Then he left her there. He stayed around and made sure that she was dead. So when Thwaites came under the water she would already be dead," Williams told jurors. Accused of killing his wife while scuba diving in the British Virgin Islands, former PADI 5-Star dive shop owner David Swain was escorted into a courtroom in handcuffs Wednesday for the start of his murder trial.

Also the DPP told jurors that the Crown will be calling expert witnesses in the trial.

"This is a case where we will present to you certain facts and opinions of experts in the field and I would like you to hear these experts. They will all tell you that they found no fault in the equipment, no illness in Shelley, nothing from the marine life did anything to her, it was death by the hands of a human being and not a marine creature and the only human being it could have been is her husband."

Principal Crown Counsel Mrs. Grace Henry-McKenzie and Crown Counsel Sarah Benjamin are also representing the Crown in this trial.

The case is expected to be completed in two weeks.

source: CDNN - Cyber Diver News Network



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