A British mother-of-three died after she was set on fire and strangled as she lay in her bed in Barbados.
The family of Luton-born Natalie Crichlow, 44, say they are ‘shocked and devastated’ after she was attacked by an unknown intruder in her bedroom on July 28 while visiting to take care of her disabled brother.
Her niece Ashley Best has claimed the intruder broke in the house in Christ Church, before strangling her and setting her alight, leaving her with 75 per cent burns to her body.
Natalie, who had survived cancer twice and had two strokes in the past decade, died in hospital just over a week later on August 6, her family say.
Ashley said they were ‘all in a state of shock’ and did not understand why it happened.
She said: ‘For someone who had battled through so much to just be taken in this way and lose their life is just beyond understanding.
‘It is all just a shame. She said she wanted to live life to the fullest because her life had nearly been taken from her.’
Natalie, also known by the names of Natalee and Karma, had lived proudly as a gay women for a number of years.
She had worked in various jobs including as door staff and as a makeup artist.
Family friend Mitra Wikes remembered her as ‘a true survivor and warrior who endured so much in life but always kept going and had a true passion for living life to the max no matter what she had gone through’.
Mitra, who said Natalie regularly visited Barbados to look after her brother after the death of her mother and uncle earlier this year, added: ‘This is why it’s so heartbreaking that her life was taken in such a cruel way.’
A spokesman for the Royal Barbados Police Force said no arrests have been made.
Stabroek News in Barbados reported that police are on the hunt for a man who ‘barged into a house, choked a woman, doused her with a flammable substance and then set the house on fire’.
Natalie, who lived in Colingdale, north London, leaves behind three children, aged 10, 20 and 26 years old, who are ‘devastated’ and want to get her back home to Britain for burial.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money to bring her body back.
On the page, her niece wrote: ‘The outgoing, bubbly and kind Natalie was greatly loved and well thought of throughout many communities, all of which this loss has come as a massive shock to.
‘Please help us donate towards costs which will cover repatriation to the UK as her body is still in Barbados with only a few family members and friends around her.
‘Any donation large or small will help in bringing peace to the family and our beloved Natalie who we all miss dearly.’⠀
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: ‘Our staff are supporting the family of a British woman following her death in Barbados, and are in contact with the Barbados police force.’