Domestic violence always has a long, sad and brutal history. It is a phenomenon which pays itself forward. It is never static. It moves within and throughout families, communities, even generations. Whomever domestic violence touches, becomes an incubator for it. A host. Potentially someone who will carry the violence forward into another generation.
On 5th February 1949, Ruth Demeritte was viciously beaten in the street by William Munnings
Ruth’s mother, Marion Demeritte, in trying to protect her daughter from further assault, attempts to stop Munnings from entering her house. He chops her hand, almost severing it from the arm.
So why did Ruth Demeritte, later on, marry and have more children with William Munnings, a man she denied even knowing in court?
Ruth Demeritte lied repeatedly in court in 1949. The assault was real enough, she didn’t lie about that. Many witnessed her being stomped to the ground. It was a brutal attack on Ruth, as well as the police who came to her aid, and her mother.
Nonsensically, Ruth denied knowing 24 year-old William Munnings. Ruth denied that they were in a love affair. Munnings repeatedly testified that they indeed knew each other and were lovers.
Maybe Ruth was ashamed to admit publicly that she was having an affair with Munnings, who stated, that he was married with 3 children. Maybe.
Jurors and the spectators in the court, found the lurid details of Munnings’s love affair testimony repugnant. Maybe Ruth was indeed fearful of the way local society would look at her, a woman involved with a violent, married man. Maybe.
As history would later reveal, Ruth in 1949, already had a four year old son with Munnings. We know this because in 1959, this four year old boy, would be 14 years old. And, in July 1959, this 14 year old son, Rodney Munnings, would witness his father William Munnings, shoot dead his sister, William and Ruth’s daughter, 8 year old Willamae. William Munnings would hang for this Murder.
TEN YEARS LATER, in 1959,
Ten years later, William Munnings would hang for the murder of his and Ruth Munnings (nee Demeritte) 8 year old daughter Willamae Munnings.
1949 – William Munnings beats Ruth Demeritte mercilessly in the street and almost chops off her mother’s hand with a cutlass
William Munnings was a handsome man. He had all those physical qualities that could be attractive to a woman. Munnings was originally from British Guyana. He was Afro-Indian with curly hair.
Williams was also an unhinged man, who had a liking for inflicting grievous bodily harm on people. Munnings had little respect for anyone including the police.
He served in the West Indian Battalion during World War II, but was subject to a court martial for committing acts of extreme violence. In court, his former commander was called to give evidence.
For his violent crimes in 1949, Munnings received a 3 year prison sentence, with hard labour attached.
Ruth Demeritte waited for Munnings to be released and then she married him. His violence only escalated.
In July 1959, he would shoot his own daughter in the head.
In August 1959, he would hang for it.