Missing man declared dead

2009-09-10 00:00

ALMOST three years after Ronald Stimpson va­nished while walking his dogs in Ferncliffe nature reserve, his close friend and attorney, Brendan Cul­linan, yesterday obtained a high court order declaring him to be presumed dead.

At the time of his disappearance on November 18, 2006, Stimpson would have been 79 years old.

The fact that no acquain­tances have heard from Stimpson since then, that there has been no activity on his bank and investment accounts, and the fact that he would never have abandoned his much-loved dogs, led Cullinan to conclude that there is no real likelihood Stimpson could still be alive, he said.

Cullinan described Stimpson as very even-tempered and did not believe he had any enemies.

Cullinan said he met Stimpson about 30 years ago when he sold his farm in the United Kingdom and came to South Africa. He became his attorney, landlord and close friend.

Stimpson lived in a cottage on Cullinan’s property in Warwick Road for about 20 years.

Cullinan said Stimpson was a bachelor, a teetotaller and a man who “kept himself to himself”. He was happy in his cottage where he could keep his dogs and see to his garden.

By the time he disappeared, he had stopped dri­ving his car and relied on Cullinan to do his shopping. He seldom left home.

The funds he brought from England seemed to be enough to enable him to live “frugally” in South Africa, said Cullinan.

Cullinan said Stimpson used to walk his dogs in Ferncliffe nature reserve almost daily, and he usually went with him.

On November 18, 2006, they took their walk later than usual — around midday — because it had been raining.

“We separated after having gone our usual distance. I went into the reserve to unblock an irrigation pipe … But he [Stimpson] decided he would not accompany me as the terrain was fairly rough where I was heading for.”

He unblocked the pipe and took a shortcut home. When he passed Stimpson’s cottage he saw he was not back, but was not unduly concerned.

At about 7 pm he noticed that Stimpson’s dogs had returned, but that Stimpson was not there and he became worried.

As soon as it was light the next morning he went to look for him, and reported him missing to police at 6.30 am.

“There was nothing to indicate what happened to him,” he said.

Cullinan, his daughter and neighbours joined police to search for Stimpson for two days, to no avail.

“For what it’s worth, a lady who claimed to have psychic powers advised me that he had been snatched at my gate and done away with. I obviously have no knowledge of that and certainly never saw any physical signs that anything like that had taken place,” he said.

“I cannot even begin to speculate why anyone would have wanted to do such a thing,” said Cullinan.

Cullinan said he has not been able to contact any close relatives of Stimpson’s in England. On July 26, he telephoned Stimpson’s brother-in-law, Dennis Clarke (who was married to Stimpson’s ol­der sister, who has also died), and the daughter of Stimpson’s friends in the UK, Louise Stock. Neither of them has heard from him.

For what it’s worth, a lady who claimed to have psychic powers advised me that he had been snatched at my gate and done away with.

Brendan Cullinan

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