This is not how Cally-Ann Gill’s seven children anticipated spending Christmas. Though of humble means, they anticipated having their mother with them for the holidays.
But in a cruel and brutal twist of fate, Gill, of Crab Hill, St Lucy was taken from them two days short of Christmas Day, slain by the father of all but one.
Gill, 35, collapsed and died at the back door of a small wooden house positioned through a track, at her Farm Road, St Peter residence last evening. She had been stabbed just after 5 p.m. by someone the police described as “an assailant familiar to her”, but who family and friends alleged was her boyfriend. Her four-month-old baby was in the house at the time. Police already have the suspect in custody.
As police carried out their investigations late into the night, family, friends and relatives gathered at the scene, trying to get a glimpse of the body lying in the distance, through an opening in the paling.
Barbados TODAY understands that neighbours heard screams coming from the house, and that a second man, who was inside the building with the victim and the assailant, rushed out while the cries continued. That man returned to rescue the young child after he saw Gill stumbling through the back door, spitting blood.
This morning, instead of being kept busy with her Christmas decorations, Althea Hinds, the paternal grandmother of six of the children who range in age from four months to nine years old, could be seen comforting them.
Talking to Barbados TODAY in the front yard of her humble Crab Hill home, Hinds said she was struggling to remain composed for the young ones, but the circumstances that led to Gill’s death were difficult to grasp.
The 63-year-old was the first to admit that the relationship between her son and Gill was not the best and that Gill suffered physical abuse.
“She had her ups and downs. One time she good and then another time dem at it. She would go and she would come. Dem would be at it sometimes but then another time you would see the two of them close,” she disclosed.
Although her economic situation is not the best, the grandmother pledged to take care of the five grandchildren she currently has in her care. The baby was taken away by police last night to be placed in the care of Social Services and Gill’s eldest child, an 11-year-old boy, has a different father.
“The mother dead and the father ain’t here. I am accustomed to taking care of them from babies and I will take care of them until my eyes shut.
“I taking care of all five in Jesus’ name. With Christ in the vessel I can smile in any storm,” she pledged, as one granddaughter looked at her pitifully.
Over at Gill’s mother’s River Bay home, her sister Crystal shook her head in disbelief. Crystal, who last saw her sister two months ago, said she hoped that her baby nephew would be handed over to the family and not taken into custody by the State.
“I hope that the children don’t get split up because them only got each other now. I heard that Social Services got the baby and it going to be hard to get him back now because I don’t even think he registered. But I would look after he,” she said.
Crystal said Cally-Ann, who was her only sister, did not always make the best choices in life, especially as it related to her relationship or lifestyle. The 21-year-old admitted that her sister was known to engage in drugs and alcohol abuse.
“That was her life and I ain’t getting into it. I tried to tell she stop it but I hear it ain’t an easy road. But still I used to look at she children and carry things for them because she boyfriend too was on that there. I use to tell she, ‘you got children’.”
Crystal said she felt shattered when her older brother Troy, who was at the scene last night, broke the news to her at her workplace.
“She don’t deserve to go down like that. He wrong. That is he children mother. I would prefer for them to fight than she life get take.
“He like he didn’t had no conscience that the baby need a mother. My sister love he. I used to tell my sister, ‘why you don’t go long and leave he though? Why you don’t see if you get a house from the Government and raise you children?’ But she love she man and she can’t leave he. Them even come to my wedding earlier up in the year,” Crystal said.
A video circulating on social media shows a man believed to be Gill’s boyfriend, assaulting a woman, thought to be Cally-Ann Gill. Barbados TODAY could not ascertain the authenticity of the video or when it was shot. However, Crystal said after she saw the disturbing footage she called Cally-Ann and asked her about it.
“She said she didn’t see it but she hear so too.”
Expressing his anger about the ordeal, Troy said although his sister was “prickle” she was good to her children. However, he said her story was a sad one and he was sorry it had to end tragically.
“The whole day this girl was on my mind and then I hear she dead. I see she about three weeks ago coming around by the stop lights with the baby in she hand and one on the ground walking.
“As prickle as she is, she would take care of them children. The grandmother from the father side take care of them too,” a distraught Troy said.