Stephen Broadbridge, son of murdered 80-year-old former director of the National Museum Dr Claire Broadbridge, yesterday lamented what he describes as society’s lack of empathy with respect to murders and other violent crimes.
In an interview with Newsday yesterday, hours after his mother’s body was found in her Fondes Amandes Road, St Ann’s home on Saturday evening, Stephen said, in recent years society has been desensitised to violence, pointing to a rising murder toll as the major reason for the public’s indifference. It is believed the woman’s throat was slit.
“Crime is just a symptom of the lack of sympathy and understanding that we have for one another these days. I think that Trinidadians have become so accustomed to murder that they have lost their sensitivity to the victims and to people in general,” Stephen said.
He said he was visiting a friend in Brasso Seco at the time of the incident and only learned of it when he received a call from one of his neighbours that a portion of the house was on fire.
Stephen also hit back at social media users who, in the wake of his mother’s killing, have alleged it was part of a plot by family members to collect insurance money.
“First of all my mother was a cancer patient and was not eligible. The insurance companies would not insure her. So to answer their questions about relatives collecting insurance money is baseless, very insulting and very insensitive. To make a statement based on nothing, without any knowledge based on people or their circumstances, is irresponsible and it shows that insensitivity is one of our major problems.”
He said unless law-abiding citizens were prepared to partner with the police in securing their streets, crime and criminality would continue to run amok.
Up until late yesterday afternoon, there was a heavy police presence at the family’s home as officers continued their inquiries into the murder. The home is bordered by a steep slope to it’s western side and is hidden from the opposite side by dense trees and underbrush.
Newsday also spoke to several residents of River Road, St Ann’s who were struggling to come to terms with the murder of the woman many affectionately referred to as “Mama”. One resident, who asked not to be identified, said the mother of three maintained a close relationship with members of the community and expressed his disgust at her demise.
“We would scarcely see her outside her home but whenever she passed, she would always hail us out. She would stop and have these long conversations with us, she was really well-liked and it’s a real tragedy what happened to her. We’re all very angry right now.”
Another resident, who asked only to be identified as “Jerome”, said Broadbridge would often employ young men from the community to do odd jobs around her house.
He said she would never hesitate to assist families in need.
“She was a very welcoming person, she would always have a few young fellas from the neighbourhood helping her out, whether it’s to maintain her lawn or whatever. She was all there for us and what happened to her was an outrage.”
Several residents have speculated the killer or killers may have come from outside of the community, given her status in the area.
Police said, at about 5 pm on Saturday, residents saw clouds of black smoke rising from the other side of the slope and notified the Fire Service. When they arrived and searched the house, they found Broadbridge’s body.