When 81-year-old Majorie Forde-Holder was given the news that her daughter’s murderer, Garnett Levere Brome was sentenced to life in prison, the elderly woman’s eyes welled up with tears as she raised her hands in the air to thank God.
Just short of four years after the brutal slaying of his 49-year-old lover, fish vendor Caroline Roberta Forde, on August 19, 2013, Brome of Six Men’s, St Peter was Monday sentenced by Madam Justice Michelle Weekes in the No.2 Supreme Court.
During a row over $2,450, Brome, who was 69 years old at the time, repeatedly beat Caroline with a metal object and stabbed her in full view of the public at Bridgetown Fisheries Market. She was later pronounced dead at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
According to Caroline’s mother, the couple had a violent history, with Forde-Holder often having to step in to end the blows.
“Many nights I had to come and pull him from off the table cause he had she head down . . . I had to tell he, ‘come, come and go long out’.
“I quarrel with her and tell her left him he going to kill she but . . . she would not hear. But she did frighten for he,” she told Barbados TODAY from her Bushy Park, St Philip home.
Despite her mother’s many efforts to get her daughter to end the relationship, Caroline held on.
“The people told her don’t talk with him but she would not hear,” Forde-Holder said.
The memories are still fresh for the 81-year-old who, in addition to taking care of her 99-year-old mother, must also care for her deceased daughter’s eight children and 12 grandchildren.
Close to tears, she recounted when she sat in during the first trial and listened to details of the killing. Unable to stomach it, Forde-Holder hurriedly left the courthouse, crying and upset.
“He killed her ridiculous, very ridiculous. It hurt my heart. I had to come out and cry. He killed her as if she was a centipede, like an animal. He didn’t have any feeling. He stabbed her up, he hit her with a hammer, all kinds of things he did and it hurt my heart to see the way he kill her,” she said.
However, Monday morning when Barbados TODAY visited, the mother said she could breathe a bit easier knowing her daughter’s killer will be behind bars.
“What the law do, I’m satisfied with . . . because when a man wicked, you don’t know what he will do. I don’t know if he will come back in here. You don’t know if when everybody sleeping what he will come and do because when ya wicked, ya wicked. . .
“He didn’t have mercy on my daughter and they didn’t have mercy on him. Now let him stand down there. They [the judge] did what was right,” she stated.
Although the family remains deeply saddened by Caroline’s death, the matriarch said she had no thoughts of revenge or anger towards the now 72-year-old Brome. Instead, she has left revenge to God.
“I leave him in the hands of the Almighty God. He would take care of him. Tears does still flow sometimes, [but] I leave everything in the Master’s hand . . . He will take control,” she added.
In handing down the sentence Monday, Weekes said the level of violence inflicted on Caroline was “unprecedented and unparalleled in Barbados”.
Some of the harrowing details of what took place that afternoon were outlined in court as the judge explained why she slapped Brome with the maximum sentence for his guilty plea to manslaughter.
The row over the missing funds, – which Caroline admitted to taking from a locker which they shared at the fish market, but promised to repay – turned violent, with the woman, with whom he had shared a 12-year relationship, throwing bleach water and degreaser on Brome.
According to an eyewitness, Brome repeatedly cuffed Caroline about her body, used a piece of metal to beat her, as well as a knife with which he stabbed her repeatedly.
The witness said despite Caroline’s screams for him to “stop, stop, stop”, he continued with the attack.
During the altercation the eyewitness asked Brome whether “he was going to kill the woman” to which Brome allegedly responded: “She want f****** killing, she ain’t got no respect. I will make sure I r******* kill she.”
As the judge read those facts, there was utter shock on the faces of those gathered in the court, while Brome, who was wearing a beige short sleeve shirt and black slacks and glasses, slowly shook his head from side to side as if in disagreement.
The judge stated that an officer responded to Caroline’s shouts for help, but she collapsed while he was approaching her.
The officer radioed for help and confronted Brome who admitted to the stabbing.
“I stab she up. I mean Caroline Forde, she did want killing ever since. She did f****** me up for 12 years now. I don’t give a f*** if she dead. She want killing ever since,” he allegedly said at the time.
Weekes told Brome that “the level of violence inflicted on Caroline Forde at your hands is unprecedented and unparalleled in Barbados.
“Due to the callous, vicious . . . nature of the attack, she died a horrible, painful death at your merciless hands, in full public view of many witnesses,” the judge said to the man who was allowed to sit through the sentence due to his failing health.
This was not Brome’s first brush with the law, having been convicted of serious crimes in Barbados and the United States in the past.
Between March 1963 and November 1996 he was convicted of several offences against women, including assault and serious bodily harm.
Following a move to the United Sates he was convicted of second-degree assault and then second-degree murder in 1978 and sentenced to life imprisonment with parole after 15 years. He was then deported to Barbados.
Brome’s attorney Verla Depieza had asked the judge to impose of custodial sentence of no more than ten years due to Brome’s frail health. She said he suffered from heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes and non-specific anemia. However, the prosecutor, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Donna Babb-Agard, disagreed and called for 30 years to life.
“Throughout your life you have been involved in the commission of violent crimes and had many years to reflect on this,” Weekes said.
“Your health concerns do not outweigh the need to protect the public.”
“Take him away,” she ruled.
However, as a police officer held Brome’s right arm and a prison officer his left, the convict said “wait . . . I have two bad knees”.
He then dropped slightly even as officers got him his walking aid and shuffled him out of the courtroom.