Inquests begin for couple in ‘volatile relationship’

The scene of February 2014's murder-suicide in Bodden Town. Photo: Brent Fuller
The scene of February 2014's murder-suicide in Bodden Town. Photo: Brent Fuller

A coroner’s jury heard Monday that police were called five times to the home of Nichelle Anna-Kay Thomas, 21, and her boyfriend Devon Roy Campbell, 39, whose bodies were discovered at a home in Bodden Town in February 2014.

The body of Ms. Thomas was found with several lacerations and her hand had been severed. Mr. Campbell’s body was found hanging from a tree outside the house on Lookout Road.

Queen’s Coroner Eileen Nervik read a statement of senior investigation officer Dennis Walkington, which said the couple had been in a volatile relationship. Ms. Thomas had suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of Mr. Campbell, but no reports of domestic violence were filed with a Central Referral Unit.

According to Mr. Walkington, on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2014, Ms. Thomas’s body was found in the home of George Wood, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease. Ms. Thomas was hired to give the full-time helper some relief on Sundays. The finding of her body was reported by Mr. Wood’s business partner.

Ms. Thomas was found in a seated position in a small closet in a back bedroom. She had cuts to her neck and large lacerations to her arm; her left hand was severed and lay on the floor nearby. “It was evident she had been the victim of a homicide,” Mr. Walkington stated.

Elsewhere on the property, he saw Mr. Campbell’s body hanging by a rope from a tree. A fire tender was called after an off-duty fire officer at the scene advised that an extension ladder would be the best way to lower the body to the ground.

No pathologist was available for post-mortem examinations until Feb. 22, Mr. Walkington said.

The cause of death for Mr. Campbell was hanging. Ms. Thomas died of multiple chop wounds, some of which resulted in fractures of spinal vertebrae and the spinal cord.

Mr. Walkington said he learned that Mr. Campbell was an angry, jealous man at whose hands Ms. Thomas had suffered physical and mental abuse. Police had responded to five reports of incidents between them. For example, in October 2012, when officers went to their Bodden Town home, Ms. Thomas told them Mr. Campbell had accused her of having another boyfriend in Jamaica. He admitted hitting her, but she did not want him arrested.

Clearly this was a domestic incident, Mr. Walkington stated, but it was wrongly classified as a civil dispute. A form should have been filled out for the Central Referral Unit, but it was not because Ms. Thomas said she was leaving the island.

In September 2013, Ms. Thomas reported that Mr. Campbell had taken her passport, their baby’s passport and the baby. Mr. Campbell subsequently told officers he had wanted to get them more time from Immigration. No further action was taken. Mr. Walkington said the incident was domestic and a referral should have been done but was not.

In January 2014, Ms. Thomas reported that Mr. Campbell had threatened her with a screwdriver. She again said she did not want him arrested. Officers contacted the Crisis Centre and Ms. Thomas was advised it could offer her safe shelter, but she did not contact the shelter.

Mr. Walkington said his investigation showed no evidence of a third party’s involvement.