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Dad recalls Nikkita’s last goodbye


Carol-Ann Tudor

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“Dad, I’m gone!”With these words, Nikkita Belgrave left the home of her father in Shop Hill, St Thomas, for Bridgetown.But little did Gordon Cummins know that would be the last time he would see his daughter alive. The 23-year-old never made it out of town. She was one of six females who perished in a blaze at Campus Trendz on Tudor Street, The City, on Friday night, after robbers threw an incendiary device into the store before escaping.Close friends Kelly-Ann Welch and Tiffany Harding, who were customers in the store, along with employees Kellisha Olliviere, Shanna Griffith and Pearl Amanda Cornelius, also lost their lives.Cummins said Nikkita left home around 3:30 p.m.; said goodbye in her “usual casual manner” and the next thing he heard was his son telling him that there was a “big fire down town”.He had no idea that his daughter, who is a former student of St Andrew’s Primary and Alleyne School, was among those trapped in the burning store until he received a call from a relative.At her former home in Walkers, St Andrew, the swollen eyes of family members told a tale of grief.Her aunt Sherlene Headley recalled Nikkita as one who was free-spirited and loved partying.“Nikkita was the average girl her age; she liked to do her own thing and she was very sociable . . . . She had a lot of friends and she also loved tattoos. She had about eight of them,”  Headley said.Her mother Cheryl Belgrave, who does not reside with Nikkita, did not speak too much during the SUNDAY SUN interview but said she spoke to her daughter every week, mostly on weekends.She also had no idea that the next time she would be seeing her firstborn would be when she was asked to identify her body.“All I can tell you is that Nikkita was a nice girl and she loved to dress up and we will all miss her,” she said through tears.The family also used the occasion to make a public appeal to anyone with information to come forward so that those who had committed the crime “would be brought swiftly to justice”.

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