Though too young to fully grasp the gravity of a family tragedy which occurred over the weekend, two St Michael siblings – five-year-old Danae and three-year-old Danea Lovell – today face the harsh reality that their parents will never take them to school again.
In a cruel twist of fate, the family of four from Alleyne’s Land, Bayville, St Michael was torn apart forever following the apparent murder-suicide of parents, Derek and Kimberley Lovell.
The body of 27-year-old Kimberley was found by her mother, Cicely Sargeant, in her home with several wounds just after 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Investigating police officers later found the body of her husband, 46-year-old Derek Lovell, of the same address, hanging from a rafter in a shed in the yard of their home.
When Barbados TODAY visited Kimberley’s family hours later, the youngest child, Danea, was eager to go outside and play while five-year-old Danae was only just coming to grips with the thought that “mommy and daddy have gone to heaven”.
Kimberley’s mother, Cicely, said she expects it would take a while for the entire family to come to grips with the fact that her energetic, bubbly and vivacious daughter would never return home.
The distraught mother is herself struggling to come to terms with the double tragedy as she replays over and over in her mind, the gruesome discovery she made early Sunday morning.
Hers was a discovery that no mother ever wants to make but the image of her daughter’s bloodied and lifeless body is now forever etched in her memory.
“She told me she was going out, going to talk to her husband and . . . then I realized she took too long to come back home, so I went to see,” Kimberley’s mother told Barbados TODAY.
“I was calling for her and I wasn’t getting her, so I went to see why she . . . taking so long to come back home. That’s when I discovered her,” Sargeant recalled.
Kimberley was Sargeant’s only daughter and the baby of the family which has three boys.
She had an extremely close relationship with her mother, even following in her footsteps by becoming a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. While Sargeant worked in the Surgery Department at the hospital, Kimberley worked as a critical care nurse in Recovery.
Describing her daughter as a “very loving, very caring and beautiful” individual, Sargeant recalled the mother-daughter shopping trips they made to town which were always filled with laughter.
Kimberley’s brother, Fabian Sargeant, was overwhelmed with emotion as he recalled the last time he spoke to his sister.
“One of the most hurtful parts of my last conversation with my sister is that I didn’t even get to tell her that I love her. We spoke of so many things but we take these things for granted and that is one the most hurtful parts of it, next to having to tell her five-year-old daughter that mommy and daddy will not be coming home anymore,” he told Barbados TODAY on Sunday afternoon.
Still wishing that he could erase the entire incident from his memory, Fabian said he received the horrible news of his sister’s passing around three o’ clock Sunday morning,
“I would like to erase that entire phone call and everything that happened,” said Kimberley’s eldest brother.
Describing his sister as “a very short person who was very tall with attitude”, Fabian revealed that the mother of two had recently completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at the University of West Indies Mona Campus in Jamaica and was preparing to start her Master’s later this year.
“Kimberley was a very energetic, ambitious young lady – very professional. She took her career very serious. She looked up to me, mainly in terms of studying. However high I get, she really wants to push and go, . . . I did a Master’s, so she making sure she got to do a Master’s too. So more like a friendly competition – looking up to her big brother,” he said.
Speaking on the relationship between Kimberley and her spouse Derek, Fabian said “like any other relationship, there are challenges, people have challenges but it is the different coping mechanisms that people engage in. That is what may cause the challenge; might cause a bad situation to go worse.
“It was just one of those situations where they had an issue and they were dealing with it and I think their last encounter together was to try and see how best they can deal with their challenges.”
Yesterday, as the bodies were removed from the couple’s home, some of Derek’s relatives, including one of his daughters from a previous relationship, were inconsolable and refused to speak to members of the media.
However, the tragic death of the couple who had been together for the last ten years and were married for three, also came as a shock to the staff at the Geriatric Hospital where Derek worked.
Troy Browne, who worked alongside Derek, who was a gatekeeper, said, “I heard about it after three [Sunday] morning. I was like, ‘nah that ain’t true, that ain’t true, somebody playing a prank. I ain’t believing that until I hearing or see it on the news’.”
Later, Browne got the confirmation that he desired but that did not take away from his absolute shock.
“Up to now I can’t cry. I can feel it [the need to cry] but I can’t get it do,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Referring to Derek as a friendly, loving and family person, Browne said he was still unable to come to terms with him taking his wife’s life and then his own.
“For all the time I know him, always checking for his family, so to hear something like this, this got me shocked.”
Fellow gatekeeper Jefferson Greenidge revealed that the staff at the Beckles Road, St Michael hospital took the news hard.
“They had some nurses in here this morning that couldn’t do nothing at all,” he revealed.
Greenidge too was in disbelief, finding out about the double tragedy when he arrived to work that afternoon.
He shared how the couple would often be seen together, walking each other to and from work.
“I even find that they were so close that sometimes when she finish work, she would come and wait on him until he is finished and the two of them would leave together,” Greenidge said.