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Cops probe suspected murder-suicide

When Raymond Headley's sister phoned him from her home in the US on Tuesday and told him that she couldn't get in touch with her daughter, Alicia Smithson, he didn't think much of it, unaware that his niece was perhaps taking her last breath.

The body of Smithson, 42, a dressmaker of Senior district in Westmoreland, was found in a pool of blood on her bed about 3 p.m. Her hands were bound to the leg of another bed, and a bloody sheet wrapped around her neck and face. Her boyfriend, who has been identified as Robert Stewart of Cornwall Courts, St James, was found dangling from the end of a rope, which was tied from a piece of steel, supported from the upper unfinished floor of the house. The scene was processed and both bodies removed to the morgue for post-mortem.

Investigators have theorised that Smithson was strangled to death by Stewart, who then hung himself.

Yesterday when THE STAR visited the small community, a distraught Headley related that Stewart was in a relationship with his niece for more than two years but he barely spoke to him.

"I only see that boy a walk out of the lane some of the morning when him come up here, I never talk to him, I don't know his name, all I know is that them call him 'Robert'," Headley told THE STAR. Headley said that after his sister called, he told a cousin to check Smithson's house.

"Him call mi back and say him nuh get no response. Then mi see one a mi church sister calling mi, and she say she saw one of the grille half open, the locks on the table, but no response," he recalled. Headley informed her to enter the house and look around. She and other residents made the gruesome discovery. He later went to the house.

"And by the time mi reach round the back just to look, and then I saw the young man hanging from a piece of rope. So I call the police and that was it," he said.

Headley described his niece as a quiet, soft spoken individual who was a very well-behaved, hard-working single mother.