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    December 13

  • 03:06 PM

CASE NOT CLOSED: Dead end

Added 21 May 2010

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Each week the Case Not Closed Desk revisits some of the most intriguing cold cases  that continue to baffle investigators.  This week we examine the murder of Karen Allamby.Anyone with information on this or any other case should contact the Crime Desk at 253-4871 or the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-TIPS (8477). A reward is given for information that leads to the solving of a crime.by ANTOINETTE CONNELLThe well known Easter pastime of kite-flying  led to a grisly find for some youngsters in 2007.The discovery of a decapitated body sent shockwaves through the nation while it marked one  of the most solemn periods  on the Christian calendar,  the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was a tragic end to the livewire that was Karen Allamby, an attractive  39-year-old mother of four, whose life had spiralled  out of control after a brief dalliance in the spotlight.A youngster had gone into the bushy area at Cane Vale, Christ Church, to retrieve a kite when he came across the decomposing body, the head severed, on April 16, 2007. Medical experts determined that Karen’s head – which has never been recovered – was removed at the time of the killing, suggesting the missing head was not taken by wild animals post-death. But Karen’s relatives knew her well enough to positively identify her other remains.The cause of death of the former hotel waitress whose hands were tied behind her back during the ordeal  was not determined.Immediate suspicion fell on a boyfriend with whom Karen shared a makeshift dwelling in his family’s yard  at Gall Hill, Christ Church, but police questioned and released him,  along with some others who had questionable contact with the woman during her dark days of drug abuse and other  sordid lifestyles. One of them was a former boyfriend who had been charged with the rape of Karen twice; but lawmen turned up nothing from that lead. At the time of her death, the rape case was still pending, and Karen had never got the chance to testify in court, leading to legal arguments as to whether the matter could proceed without the testimony of the complainant. The case came to nought after Karen’s brutal end.No amount of police or public appeal could unearth the killer(s) of the woman who frequented the St Lawrence Gap, Maxwell Hill, Oistins  and Silver Hill, Christ  Church districts. Assistant Commissioner Seymour Cumberbatch said police believed someone out there might be in possession  of vital information.“What a member of the public might consider a trivial observation might be a vital clue to investigators,” the crime chief said at the time. No one, said relatives, deserved to die the way Karen did: decapitated and discarded in an open field. A relative, under anonymity back then, admitted Karen led a reckless life which she believed would one day catch up with her, but not in the cruel fashion that it did.Wayward, but fun-loving, Karen had  a long battle with a drug habit and it was not unusual for her to go “missing” for days, visiting friends nearby. She expressed a desire to kick the habit, but was not forceful with follow-up action.With piercing green eyes, olive skin and a pleasant personality, Karen often caught the attention of photographers, modelling agents and those connected to the fashion industry. She was once the Front Page girl in the Sunshine Magazine of Nation Publishing. It was the start to a deadly combination: beauty and popularity, along with the accompanying pressures to maintain that lifestyle. Karen did not handle it well and gave in to the seedy side of life as a personality in small Barbados. The former Sharon Mixed (as it was called then) and St Leonard’s Girls’ student and Sharon Moravian Church member turned to drugs for help. But it did not erase the earlier memories some had of the “model” student. “Her deportment was always first-class. She was clean and tidy, and her mother always made sure Karen and her two sisters had all they needed for school. That is the Karen I knew. “She was pretty with all this; so everyone liked her,” said MP for  St Thomas and then Minister  of State Cynthia Forde. Karen grew up in Jackson, which borders the parishes of St Michael  and St Thomas, and was a regular at the Sharon Moravian Church where she was confirmed in 1983.It wasn’t long before her good looks landed her in one of the modelling groups that were popping up in the 1980s. Karen was part of Images from 1985 until 1991.“It is sad watching someone so beautiful and full of life go down like that. It is heartbreaking,” said  owner  of Images, Walter “Wally” Richards, in 2007. He admitted then that he and others had failed Karen.In fact, Karen, during one of her bouts of rehab, once confided in someone: “I don’t have any friends. All my friends have abandoned me.”• antoinetteconnell@nationnews.com

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