Parole hearing opened up painful wounds for Baby Jordan's family

2015-06-21 13:39
Thobeka Buso, Natasha Norton and Vernon Norton talk about Jordan-Leigh's death 10 years later. (Michelle Daniels, Netwerk24)

Thobeka Buso, Natasha Norton and Vernon Norton talk about Jordan-Leigh's death 10 years later. (Michelle Daniels, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - As she sat in the quiet hall at the Drakenstein prison on Wednesday waiting for the parole hearing of her baby's murderers to start, Natasha Norton could hear the clanging of their chains as they were making their way down the corridor.

When Zanethemba Gwada and Bonginkosi Sigenu took their seats behind an oval table, barely two metres from her, she burst into tears.

“It was so difficult to listen to their voices. To hear how they told of how they held Jordan - the physical contact they had with my baby," Norton, 32, told Netwerk24.

The parole hearing for two of the four murderers hired by Dina Rodrigues to kill Jordan-Leigh Norton on June 15 2005 by slitting her throat, opened up painful wounds for the close-knit Norton family.

10 year anniversary

Last week Monday, exactly ten years after the toddler's death, Norton took her daughter Keira, 8, to Jordan's grave at their church in Lansdowne.

Keira, Norton's child with ex-boyfriend Andrew Moolman, describes her half-sister "Jordy" as a star in the heavens - the first star to appear every night.

“She [Keira] always visits Jordy's grave when we go to church. We try to keep the most gruesome details away from her," Norton said.

Norton's parents, Vernon and Anastasia, her brother Dylan, and their domestic worker Thobeka Buso, who has been with the family for many years, accompanied her to the parole hearing on Wednesday.

When the murderers entered the Norton home in Rondebosch East on that fateful day pretending to be delivering a package, they tied up Dylan and Buso. Norton was at work at a nearby gym at the time.

Jealousy

Rodrigues was sentenced to life in prison for masterminding the murder. It emerged in court that she had ordered the hit on Jordan because she was jealous when she found out her boyfriend at the time, Neil Wilson, was Jordan's father.

On Friday, the Nortons spoke about how difficult it was to carry on with their lives after Jordan's death.

“The pain just never goes away. It is becoming a bit easier, but not much. Keira is our family's healer. She is a wonderful child, well-adjusted and clever," Norton said.

Granddad Vernon said strangers would sometimes stare at the family, and at times they would express their sympathy or give them hugs.

“It was a terrible incident, it remains in people's minds. I think people want to show empathy, but they don't always have the words.”

Baby pictures of Jordan and Keira show a definite likeness.

The family home has since been renovated and changed, but Norton and Keira are still sleeping in Jordan's room.

Nowadays Norton can be found working alongside her dad in his electronics business.

Focus on the future

She is still receiving counselling and still battles to sleep. The year preceding the parole hearing was particularly bad, Norton said.

“I never saw Jordan take her first steps or have a birthday," she said.

But she refused to talk about Rodrigues. “I rather want to focus on the future.”

Vernon said his strong opposition to parole was spurred on by the fact that Oscar Pistorius has been granted parole after serving just ten months in jail for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

“I am disgusted that Oscar will get parole. It makes a mockery or our justice system," Vernon said.

“I mean, we're not talking about a stolen cellphone or car radio here. It is somebody's life. As a community we cannot hide our heads in the sand and pretend it never happened," he said, referring to Jordan's murder.

The atmosphere at the parole hearing was very tense, Vernon said.

“The room was absolutely quiet and we were so anxious while listening to the sound of the chains as the murderers were getting closer.

"It was a very emotional experience. This past year, since we heard about the parole hearing, has been very emotional."

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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