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CORONER’S FILES: The last drink

Antoinette Connell

CORONER’S FILES: The last drink

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Nigel?Edwin?Williams, 51, of Clarke’s Road, Hothersal Turning, St Michael, was found dead on a pasture in Wanstead Terrace in St?Michael at about 14:45 hours on April 8, 2006.
He had been last seen still alive on that date by student Rayal Carter, who reported that he saw this person, later identified as Williams, lying in a foetal position but moving his limbs about. Carter was too far away to determine exactly what Williams was doing.
The deceased was born in Lancashire, England, to Jessie Lashley (formerly Williams) who moved to Barbados in 1977 where she eventually married Barbadian Vernon Lashley, and resided with him at Clarke’s Road, Hothersal Turning, St Michael.
The deceased was a product of Lashley’s first marriage to an Edwin Williams, who died in 1976, prior to Lashley’s move to Barbados. At the time the deceased was already in a relationship with Linda Ingram who later became his wife.
In 1982, they both came to reside in Barbados with the Lashleys and Nigel Williams operated an apparently successful clothing store at Pandora’s Plaza, Bay Street, St?Michael. He was joined in this enterprise by Ingram. They eventually set up their own home and the couple got married in Barbados in 1989.
Over the years it became apparent that they both drank heavily, which eventually led to the failure of their business. The store closed and Williams began retailing clothes from his motor car to individuals and business contacts he had made during the existence of the store.
This venture also failed and Williams stayed at home to look after their two children while Linda went out to work as a receptionist. During this time, because of financial constraints, the couple moved back to live with Jessie?Lashley.
The children started school and?Nigel Williams went back out to work at a garment factory. However, the entire situation had taken a toll on the marriage and Linda and children moved out leaving Williams still living at Hothersal Turning with his mother.
In 1997, Williams acknowledged that he was an alcoholic and started going to Alcoholics?Anonymous. He remained sober, according to all reports, for nine years.
The job at the garment factory did not last long. Williams would soon resign over a broken promise of a manager’s position.
In addition it had been arranged that the children would visit him at weekends. His daughter Polly stopped coming after the first weekend visit. His son Philip would visit only spasmodically and, as he was very devoted to his children, he became increasingly distraught about this development.
Williams continued his AA meetings and was not known to drink any alcohol. He did however have a gambling addiction and would play the slot machines. At the time of his death, he was out of work and dependent financially on his mother with whom he lived.
In return he ran her errands, such as paying her bills; going to the supermarket and assisting her in selling the stuffed dolls she made.
Jessie Lashley noticed that during the two weeks prior to his death Williams appeared very depressed. He was smoking more heavily. She knew that he was very unhappy about not seeing his son:?this was the only reason he gave her when she queried his depression.
On Thursday, April 6, he told her he was going to the beach. He also had sample dolls with him to show a customer in St Lawrence Gap.
He was next seen at Cool Dreams Café in Worthing where he was friendly with the proprietor Philip Proverbs and his wife. Proverbs also noted his depression and tried to find out from him what was going on.
Williams only said that this was the worst it had ever been, but did not open up further to them. He was going to leave but he was persuaded to stay a bit and play a game of pool while Proverb’s wife prepared a snack for them. While at the café he drank only coffee and eventually left there after 8 p.m., according to Proverb’s recollection.
Lashley testified that her son called her from the Cool Dreams Café at about 7:30 p.m. telling her where he was, that he was playing a game of pool with the owner and would be home at about 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. but did not turn up. She did not see or hear him again.
On the Friday evening, April 7, 2006, Williams’ estranged wife Linda telephoned asking to speak to him. Lashley told her that Williams was not at home and in fact he had not come home all night.
By Saturday, April 8, Lashley was well and truly worried, and after contacting her daughter in England who advised her to call the police, she decided to do so. She was informed by the police on Saturday evening that they wanted to talk to her and would visit her.
Lashley called Linda Williams and asked her to come over to meet with the police, who when they arrived, took Linda to the location where the deceased had been found. She positively identified him as Nigel Williams.
The deceased was initially found lying motionless by another university student Dexter Sandy, who was walking across the pasture on his way to play football. Sandy, not being able to get a response, called campus security and the police.
Williams was dressed in the clothes and carrying the bag he had left his home at Hothersal Turning with on April 6. It is not known what he did between that dateand Saturday, April 8, when he was discovered.
No marks of violence were found on his body and while the post-mortem and toxicological analysis reported no evidence of ingestion of poison, he had in his possession a bottle marked Gramoxone. This was subsequently tested and the contents found to test positive for paraquat (aka Gramoxone).
In addition, a suicide note was found, which read: “Sorry about the money (one last binge). Please forgive me. Love Nigel, Dad. Polly and Philip, I love you both. Keep your faith up and God will protect and care for you. XXXX”
The handwriting was positively identified as that of Nigel Williams by wife Linda.
While it is uncertain exactly how Williams took his life, the circumstantial evidence points overwhelmingly to the fact that he did.
VERDICT: suicide.