Barbados police probing murder of British national, rules out intruder

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According to CANA, Barbados Police Commissioner Tyrone Griffith says investigations into the “unnatural death” of British national Natalie Crichlow are containing but dismissed suggestions that she died at the hands of an intruder when she was seriously burnt during a fire that broke out on July 28 at the home of her brother Ashton Clarke, whom she had been visiting.

“This matter is being treated as an unnatural death and intense investigations are ongoing.  At this stage there is nothing to indicate that there was an intruder at such premises,” Griffith told reporters after the British newspaper, The Independent reported earlier this week that the 44-year-old Crichlow was strangled, doused with a flammable substance and set alight while lying in bed.

The woman, who was here to take care of her sick brother, succumbed to her burns on August 6.

The British newspaper had quoted relatives as saying that Crichlow was visiting family members in Barbados when she was attacked by an unknown intruder in her room.

But Griffith, who was flanked by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at the news conference, told reporters that closed circuit television footage from a nearby house showed that no one had entered the premises prior to the fire.

“Investigations to date have focused on closed circuit television from an adjacent house and this is of a very high quality. Examination of this footage has clearly demonstrated that no one entered those premises for hours prior to the fire taking place.”

Griffith also rejected reports that the mother of three died after being strangled and was found while lying in her bed.

“The corrugated fence was fully intact apart from the sheet that was removed to provide access to the victim.  The footage showed that the fire originated in the area of the kitchen and was concentrated there. There were signs of a destroyed saucepan and burnt food. Though one gas bottle was unaffected, the top of the second bottle had melted away.

“About 13:43 hours, the house suddenly went up in flames with the seat of the fire being concentrated in the kitchen area.  The fire rapidly engulfed the house and residents and workmen on a nearby house quickly sprang into action to assist. The deceased was found in the yard badly burnt,” Griffith said.

He said the victim’s clothing was taken away to be examined forensically for any traces of accelerant, adding that the “crime officers indicated that there was no smell of accelerant in the house or on the clothing of the victim.”

The Police Commissioner told reporters that the investigations were ongoing and “rumours have been circulating to the effect that a man who once lived at the said house might be involved in the death.

“This man was identified and interviewed along with the brother of the deceased….and to date, there is nothing to suggest that he had any involvement in this matter. A post mortem was conducted and death was attributed to infections from the burns,” he said.

Griffith recalled that during the period leading up to the fire, Crichlow was on a video call with a Linda Beaumont, a British health advisor who was supervising her children.  Beaumont later stated that Crichlow was in the kitchen preparing meals.

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