Caribbean Fever - Your ONLY destination to all things Caribbean and more
Laborie police are investigating the death of a UK National whose body was found at the bottom of a cliff near her residence at Piaye on Sunday 25December 2011 at about 10am.
Preliminary reports indicated that 46-year-old Sarah Pickering Thomas had jumped to her death after a heated argument with her husband, Kevin Thomas. Neighbours told the STAR say the two had been arguing over a text message after returning home from J’ouvert that morning causing the husband to leave the house only to return to discover the lifeless body of his wife at the bottom of the cliff.
According to the Press Officer attached to the Royal St Lucia Police Force, the incident is being ruled out as a ‘freak accident’ until evidence proves otherwise. Although details are still sketchy, the STAR has learnt that the couple did have surveillance equipment (CCTV) installed which shows the deceased walking around in the backyard prior to the fall. A source inside the police department told the STAR that the deceased was seen on the phone walking around and then she attempted to sit at the edge of the cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
A few neighbours all admitted that Mrs Thomas was a loving, kind and cheerful person. “She was always smiling,” said one of her neighbors who wishes to remain anonymous. A few others were heartbroken by the tragedy wishing that it was just a dream. “She was so happy that she was spending her first Christmas in St Lucia,” said a relative of the husband, “she was so excited and was planning to have a get together with friends for the holidays.”
Attempts to speak with the husband was futile.
Sarah Thomas had just moved to St Lucia with her newly wedded husband Kevin. It is reported that the two had only spent six months in St Lucia after being married. An autopsy conducted on Wednesday 28 December revealed that she died from hemorrhagic shock, secondary to a head force trauma. Police are still investigating the incident.
A British lawyer who quit her high-flying City career for a fresh life in the Caribbean has died in a 100ft cliff fall after attending an all-night party with her new husband.
Sarah Thomas, 46, is said to have lost her footing while picking herbs from the garden of her villa in St Lucia at 10am on Christmas Day.
Her husband of five months, Kevin Thomas – a local man believed to be unemployed – was seen pacing around the clifftop with his head in his hands shortly after the tragedy.
Sarah at her wedding to Kevin Thomas five months ago. She is believed to have lost her footing while picking herbs from the garden of her villa in St Lucia at 10am on Christmas Day
In England, Mrs Thomas’s distraught mother Christine said: ‘Words can’t express what we feel at the loss of our lovely daughter.’
St Lucia police said her death was an accident and that they are not seeking suspects.
Mrs Thomas left her lucrative job as a managing director of tax advisers Alvarez & Marsal Taxand late last year to set up home in the village of Piaye with Mr Thomas, 36. They had met in New York, where he was working and she was on a business trip.
On Christmas Eve they went to an all-night party at Anchors Bar, half a mile from their large £350,000 clifftop villa.
Neighbour Eunice Sylvester, 34, a farmer’s wife, said: ‘In the morning they returned home and Sarah began to cook some food. She went outside to get a leaf from a herb growing in her garden for the gravy and then fell down the cliff.
‘From the herb plant to the edge of the cliff is about ten yards. I was at home and heard about the incident. I went to see what had happened.
‘Lots of people from the village had gathered at the top of the cliff. She was lying on the rocks below. Nobody really knows what happened. We don’t know if she was drunk. It is the first time anyone has fallen off the cliff.
A post-mortem confirmed Mrs Thomas died from head wounds after falling from this cliff. Her husband was seen pacing around the clifftop with his head in his hands shortly after the tragedy
‘Everyone was surprised. Kevin grew up here. His family live in the village. I don’t think he works.’
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: ‘We don’t know what happened except that she fell off the cliff. We cried all day long, it was the saddest Christmas.
‘Kevin was at the top of the cliff with his head in his hands being held by family and friends. It was a cruel sight to see. She was a lovely woman who was loved by everyone in the village. Sarah used to come and go between here and England but moved for good about a year ago.’
Mrs Thomas helped out at the school in Piaye. The village has a population of about 700 and is rarely visited by tourists.
Yesterday her parents William and Christine Pickering and sister Alison said they were ‘devastated’ by her death. Her mother, who lives in Ashton-on-Ribble in Lancashire, said: ‘Sarah had been incredibly happy with Kevin. St Lucia was her home. She moved there in 2010 and had a wonderful wedding last summer. She loved Kevin and loved the island.
‘She was fully involved in the local community. She’d been doing some voluntary teaching at the school and had worked hard with Kevin to raise money and buy equipment for the children. She will be buried in St Lucia, where her heart is.
‘We wish to make it clear that there has been a full police investigation and we believe that Sarah’s death is just the result of a terrible accident.’
Mrs Thomas was born in Preston, Lancashire, and graduated from Nottingham University. After a high-flying career in tax law, she became a partner at ‘Big Four’ accountancy firm Ernst & Young from 1997 to 2008, where average profits for partners are £663,000 a year. She then moved to rival firm Alvarez & Marsal Taxand.
She emigrated to St Lucia in December 2010, and married Mr Thomas in an exclusive spa resort on the island in July. She still owned a £1 million house in Clapham, South-West London, which she rented out.
Commissioner of the Royal St Lucia Police, Phillip Vernon Francois, said: ‘It is an unnatural death. She and her husband had been to a celebration. We would treat it as suspicious if we suspected foul play, but we don’t at the moment. We have not arrested anyone and there are no suspects, but that might change.’
However, after a post-mortem confirmed Mrs Thomas died from head wounds, a police spokesman said: ‘That is the end of the matter for us. It was an accident.’
Ursula Guidaire, who owns Anchor Bar, said: ‘Sarah was still here dancing with Kevin at 6am. They looked like they were having a good time. I saw Kevin again an hour later, but I don’t know what time they left because it was full of people.’
Yesterday, friends and former colleagues paid tribute to Mrs Thomas.
Andrew Greenwood, who worked with her at Alvarez & Marsal Taxand, said: ‘She was a lovely lady and it is a tragedy. We are all very upset.’
Heather Crichton-Sharp, 47, who trained as a lawyer with Sarah at Leeds solicitors Simpson and Curtis in the Eighties, said her friend was ‘so happy’ after finally finding love.
She said: ‘It was always her wish to find a man, settle down and have children. It is a tragedy that this has happened just a few months after her wedding. We are shocked and devastated. She always wanted a family and it was finally falling into place.’