Quinquagenarian Shirley Barrow was a private person who preferred to stick to herself. Neighbours of the Inch Cape Terrace, St Philip woman said she did not mix or mingle much and when not at work, spent her time alone at home with her dogs and her cats.
Barrow, who was on sick leave, died alone sometime over the past few days, her decomposed body discovered in her house yesterday morning by police officers after a neighbour raised the alarm.
Residents of the quiet developing neighbourhood told Barbados TODAY that Barrow’s neighbour, a police officer, became concerned and decided to investigate a foul ordour emanating from the building. The windows also remained opened despite the rain.
They explained that when the neighbour entered the yard he was met by flies and an overpowering smell, so he called fellow officers who found the dead woman inside the green and white wall structure.
Neighbour Ainsley Alleyne said he last saw Barrow alive on Tuesday.
He said it was not unusual for her two dogs to go over to his property, but they had been there since Saturday and had not left.
“I just see the house opened all the time and it was very uncommon seeing the house opened. She would open her windows, go to work, come home and close them.
“But I realize that the dogs were coming here since Friday because they know they would get something to eat and I put water for them,” Alleyne said.
He stressed that while Barrow was a private person, she was courteous and often greeted her neighbours whenever she encountered them along the way.
“She didn’t use to talk to nobody, she just said ‘hello’ and that’s it. She was a very private person. She goes by her way,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Alleyne explained that he had been through a similar experience in the past in New York where he once lived.
“This is the second person that I find died like that. A lady in New York, we hadn’t seen her for a while and we keep asking. And there was a guy she use to go at came one morning, knocked on the door, ring the doorbell, went in and saw her inside the house dead, all swollen out. Now I come here to Barbados now and the same thing.”
Barrow worked as a housekeeper at the Crane Hotel for 11 years and colleagues spoke of their distress upon hearing of her sudden death.
“We are all in shock; this has come as a surprise. All we know is that she was on sick leave. We are all saddened by it . . . She was a very easy-going person who was liked by all,” said John Alleyne, manager of the housekeeping department.
He described Barrow as a dedicated, trustworthy and dependable employee who always did a good job.
“I am sure that something will be done for her but it is being led by the Human Resources department. She was a good worker,” the manager said.
The police said it was not yet clear how Barrow died and they would await a post-mortem.
“She was found in a state of decomposition at her house [yesterday] morning in the Crane, St Philip. Right now we are not in a position to say what the cause of death is. An autopsy will first have to be carried out to determine the cause of death,” Public Relations Officer Acting Assistant Superintendent David Welch told Barbados TODAY.