Residents of Wanstead Gardens, St Michael were thrown into an immediate state of shock this morning after the lifeless body of 44-year-old Winston Forde was discovered hanging from the rafters in his home, with a sheet around his neck.
Forde, originally from Fruitful Hill, St Andrew, occupied Apartment 6 in the Benny Hill Apartments.
He was discovered by his family members and neighbours who resorted to forcibly entering his apartment around 10 a.m. after several attempts to reach him by phone had failed.
The sudden death of the father-of-three has left neighbouring tenants shaken, especially as they knew the self-employed businessman and owner of Forde’s Technical Services to be full of life.
Neighbours also described him as a great conversationalist.
Twenty-seven-year-old Shakira Scantlebury, who was with the group that made the gruesome discovery of his body, said she was awakened around 8 a.m. by a commotion outside of his apartment.
“I saw [his] child mother knocking on the door, so then everybody raise the alarm and we realized that he was missing because we didn’t hear him and we do everything – we pelt rocks, we bum down, we holler, we do everything thing,” Scantlebury told Barbados TODAY, adding that her worst fears were eventually realized.
“When his cousin arrived . . . he told me well he has the key and he couldn’t get in so then he went and get the screw drivers and he went through . . . and that was when he found him,” she recalled.
Scantlebury had lived next to the technician for the past two years. During that time the neighbours bonded and she developed a special appreciation for Forde, who she regarded as a big brother and a close advisor.
But despite their close relationship, she said she did not have an inkling that Forde would ever take his life, even though she said he appeared to be withdrawn on Tuesday, when she last saw him.
“When I was coming to take out the garbage . . . he came down and said, ‘Shakira’ and that was it. Normally we would have a conversation . . . but this time he was much more withdrawn,” Scantlebury recalled, adding that “I’ve known him for two years and in the two years I’ve known him that was not him”.
Scantlebury, who lives on the lower level of the apartment block, said Forde loved children and was always willing to crack a joke or make someone smile.
“He was a very nice person; understanding, and he was very loving. He used to come and give my son anything
. . . . He was talkative and he would make a lot of foolish jokes . . . and he always used to come and check on you,” the tenant said, while still in disbelief over his death.
Fellow tenant Chetwin Shepherd was equally despondent.
When Barbados TODAY arrived, Shepherd was sitting on the steps complaining of having an intense headache. The Benny Hill resident had developed a fond friendship with Forde during his tenancy.
“He was somebody that would keep your spirit up,” Shepherd said, adding that “what happened today is a massive surprise.
“He was always reliable, always there, always supportive. If he is sleeping you can shout for him and he would come to your assistance,” the resident sadly remembered.