Family of British pensioner: She was a beautiful soul

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Law enforcement officials seen at the residence Viscella Richards, seventy-nine, in Valsayn Avenue, off Ashland Avenue, North Valsayn where her body was found around lunch time on March 6. – Faith Ayoung

RELATIVES of 79-year-old British citizen Viscella “Vikki” Richards said they are still coming to terms with her death.

Richards’ cousins, who did not give their names, spoke with Newsday at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, saying they were saddened and shocked by her death.

They said Richards migrated to England when she was eight. That was where she began her acting career after she fell in love with theatre and the stage.

Her relatives said Richard loved travelling and shopping and was a beautiful soul.

“She was just beautiful, and I don’t mean in just appearance, but her soul was beautiful.”

They said despite retiring, Richards never stopped performing.

“She worked with the Little Carib Theatre and had several programmes on local television. One of those was a show called Building Your Dreams.

“She was an outgoing person. She loved to perform – she never stopped.”

Richards appeared in movies such as the 1969 movie The Love Factor, 1973’s Black Snake and 1971’s Onedin Line, as well as several stage plays and local programmes.

Her family said she spent time in England last December and returned to Trinidad on January 24.

They said Richard loved animals and had rescued two dogs, whom she named Oscar and Paris. The family said Richard’s jewellery was stolen but is unsure if any other items were taken.

“We haven’t done a thorough search of the home to see what else was taken.”

The family called the country’s crime situation “disgusting.”

They acknowledge that Richards had dementia, but said she wanted to maintain her independence and did not think she needed help, as she had recently agreed to have a live-in caretaker and was in the process of finalising arrangements.

She was found dead on the floor of her bedroom, with her hands bound, on March 6, after what appeared to be a home invasion.

She lived alone after retiring to TT 20 years ago. She was found by her visiting carer, who checked on her after calls to her phone went unanswered.

The caregiver arrived at around noon and found the front door unlocked. When she went inside, she found the kitchen and bedrooms ransacked, and called the police.

Later, a district medical officer declared Richards dead at the scene. Despite being bound, her body bore no marks of violence, leading authorities to speculate she may have suffered a heart attack during the robbery.

Richards is the second pensioner in a month to be found dead after a suspected home invasion.

On February 5, 72-year-old Hyacinth Gardner was found dead at her home on Lime Boulevard in Santa Rosa. She also lived alone. Gardner had migrated to the US but often visited Trinidad on vacation, and in December, she returned to oversee home repairs.

Her body was found in her bedroom after one of her workers arrived to do repairs and was unable to reach her. After searching around her home and peeping through a window, the worker became worried, walked to the Pinto Police Station, about 200 metres away, and told police what he had seen.

They then walked back to Gardener’s home, where they found her lying in her bedroom. Her body bore signs of violence.