The son of a British mother who died after being attacked in Barbados has thanked friends, family and sports fans for their “immense” support.
Mother-of-three Natalie Crichlow, 44, was visiting family in the West Indies when she was attacked by an unknown intruder in a bedroom on July 28.
Ms Crichlow, who had survived cancer twice and had two strokes in the past decade, was on a trip to help look after her disabled brother when she was strangled, doused with a flammable substance and set alight at his home in Christ Church.
Luton-born Ms Crichlow, of Colingdale, north London, suffered 75% burns to her body but died in hospital on August 6, the family say.
Her son is Hartlepool United defender Romoney Crichlow-Noble, 20, and he is being comforted by his team mates.
Crichlow-Noble, who is on loan from Huddersfield Town, tweeted: “Honestly the support my family and I have received the last week has been immense, I can only thank not only the people around me but also all the fans. Thank you!”
Her children now want to get her back home to Britain for burial.
Her niece Ashley Best told PA: “The intruder broke in the house, then strangled her and then set her alight.
“I do not understand why it happened and we are all in a state of shock.
“She went into hospital and died of her injuries.
“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.”
No arrests have been made, a spokesman for the Royal Barbados Police Force said.
Hartlepool United’s chief executive Mark Maguire said that everyone at the football club was “devastated” by the death and they are offering sincere condolences and support to the player.
He said: “As always in circumstances like this, we will be guided by Rom and his family in anything we do or say publicly but it is important that he knows we consider him part of our family and, as such, we will do all we can to help.
“To Rom’s huge credit he has insisted on continuing to work hard in training and has been exemplary in his commitment since the terrible news. His family should be suitably proud of him.
“We know that there is a fundraising effort to help repatriate Rom’s Mum and would urge anybody who feels it appropriate to get behind those efforts. As a Club, we will certainly make a donation accordingly.
“Several members of our squad have challenges in recent months with bereavement and I’m proud that, as a club, we pull together in a way that demonstrates what Hartlepool United should be about.
“Our continued thoughts and support are with Rom at this difficult time.”
Ms Crichlow, who was also known by the names of Natalee and Karma, had worked in various jobs including as door staff and as a make-up artist. Her other children are aged 10 and 26 years old.
She had been proudly living as an openly-gay woman for a number of years.
Family friend Mitra Wikes remembered Ms Crichlow 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”.
She added: “This is why it’s so heartbreaking that her life was taken in such a cruel way.
“After the death of her dear mother and uncle days apart earlier this year, she travelled to Barbados to deal with the funeral arrangements.
“As her disabled brother was left alone as a result of the loss of her mother, Natalie regularly visited Barbados to look after him.
“It was during one visit when she was resting in his home (he was at a nearby care facility at the time) when an intruder entered the house, strangled her and doused her and the house in petrol before setting everything alight.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to try and raise the money needed to bring her body back to Britain.
A Foreign Office spokesman 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.”