Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding today’s unnatural death of retired policeman Grenville Floats Cumberbatch, but residents in his Rose Hill, St Peter community are convinced that he was murdered.
As Cumberbatch’s shocked relatives, including his teenaged daughter who came from school, gathered at the scene comforting each other, his neighbours said there are many unanswered questions surrounding why the deceased was found only wearing underwear, with blood everywhere and signs of having suffered a “blow” to his head. A hammer was also found close to his body.
Residents explained that Cumberbatch’s body was discovered by his partner when she returned home from the doctor this morning.
They said the shocked partner ran out of the yard screaming for neighbours who also rushed to the scene, a short distance from the place where slain police officer Acting Station Sergeant Newton Lewis was gunned down during an attempted robbery over three weeks ago.
A resident who rushed to Cumberbatch’s yard said: “We assumed right away that he was murdered because of the amount of blood, so much blood all over the wall and all about the place, splattered all over. So it couldn’t be that he had fall down, because she [partner] thought he had fall down. But he ain’t fall, that is a murder.
“I believe he had to know the person because somebody had to let him [the suspect] in the house. I ain’t no detective but I put one and one together. The house was locked and the key was thrown back in there. How did the key get back in there and the louvres were down. The key had blood on it and it was on the table, we saw that for ourselves. That is somebody that knows him because he had to let the body in.”
Close relatives of the father of three said they were awaiting details about what could have gone wrong at their loved one’s home.
Cumberbatch’s 78-year-old brother Joshua St Elmo Murray said that he spoke to his younger brother on Monday and he was “okay”. He said the last conversation they had was about Cumberbatch accessing the COVID-19 vaccine. Murray said he was shocked when he received a call at his Boscobelle, St Peter home from his sister informing him that Cumberbatch was dead.
Murray said: “I don’t know how to get this thing understand. But anyhow, years gone by we had a very good relationship. We never used to quarrel. He was a very good gentleman. He made a lot of sport and things like that. I hope that things will work out the way it should. We can’t do nothing about it so we got to wait and see how everything going.”
The deceased’s nephew Orville Baby Floats Scantlebury said only this morning he reminded himself that he needed to call his uncle to invite him to a Father’s Day luncheon. Scantlebury said his father, Cumberbatch’s brother, died in January.
Scantlebury said he was close to his uncle whom he described as a good man.
“We are definitely going to miss him because he was funny. I am going to miss him really bad,” he said.
The mother of Cumberbatch’s last child described him as a good father and indicated that he took his child to school this morning as he usually does.
The mother said: “She spoke to her dad 20 times a day, first thing on morning and last thing at night. He took her to school every day and bring her back. She was the baby. I spoke to him before he came to take her to school.
“Then he came and she said ‘mummy I gone’, I said bye and that was it. I received the call from his great niece and I just thought she was calling me to tell me she was in the area. She asked me how me and my daughter holding up. I wasn’t expecting this. . . there is nothing bad that can be said about him. He would give his last to anybody.”
Residents also reported that they heard a strange noise coming from Cumberbatch’s backyard moments before his body was discovered. They also indicated that neighbours also witnessed another strange event, which they declined to outline, taking place around the deceased’s home.
Police Public Relations Officer Acting Inspector Rodney Inniss informed members of the media gathered at the scene that officers from the District “E” Police Station received a call around 9:50 a.m. indicating that the body had been discovered in the backyard of Cumberbatch’s residence.
Police responded within 15 minutes and found the lifeless body.
Meanwhile, residents, many huddled in groups, lamented about the most recent tragedy. They said they hoped investigators find answers surrounding Cumberbatch’s mysterious death. One neighbour said they were now afraid to live in the area, following the two recent deaths.
“Rose Hill is not known for nothing like this. Since Newton’s murder we were cautious, but we are even more cautious now,” one resident said.
Lavan Griffith, who attended All Saints Primary with Cumberbatch in the 60s said his late friend loved to make jokes, but was a serious police officer.
Griffith said: “When I hear this thing this morning my pressure shot up to 150/130 and had me a kind of scared. Grenville was a nice guy. He was a lovable guy and somebody you use to feel happy to be around.
“It getting me a kind of worried seeing that one policeman and then an ex policeman and these funny things happening got me feel glad that I am not a policeman. I ain’t know if they targeting policemen or what. It got me feel a certain way, especially in my neighbourhood. I am beginning to get worried. Nothing so never happened in this neighbourhood before. I could remember one killing we had in Rose Hill was years ago in the 1960s when a lady cross the road husband killed her. I was a little guy at that time.”
Griffith’s son, Brian Griffith recalled that when he was a child Cumberbatch would cut his hair and his brother’s under a nearby tree. He said it was unbelievable that both Lewis and Cumberbatch, whom he knew well, died tragically mere weeks apart.