‘My daughter was all I had’

2013-09-20 00:00

THE mother of a former Durban woman who died after police opened fire on her car this week, said her daughter would have never given authorities a reason to use excessive force.

Leanne Douglas (45) died on Sunday night after she was pursued by three police vehicles on the N2.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) said they are investigating why police shot at Douglas and why they tried to cover up the shooting.

Douglas’s distraught mother told The Witness yesterday that she is still trying to come to terms with her daughter’s death.

As she was consoled by her longtime friend Fay de Beer yesterday, Leonie Luckin (72) appeared distracted by her grief. Every time she responded to a question, she would answer and then talk about how her daughter’s life was wasted, and how sad it was for police to inflict such unbearable and unforgivable pain on an old woman like herself.

“She was all I had. She was my everything, my pillar of strength and my only remaining family. Now I have nothing. This is too much for me. I’m alone and I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the support I get from my friends.

“I cry a lot when I’m by myself, but when I’m with people, the pain eases a little bit. I can’t thank my friends enough for the support they have given me since this happened,” said the visibly distraught former employee of the then University of Natal.

“My mother died two months ago. She was 100 years old and everyone else from her side of the family has since died. The same applies to my father’s side, they are all gone. My beautiful girl was all I had left,” she said.

After her divorce less than two years ago, Douglas told her mother that she needed some space.

“I think she didn’t want to be around Durban. Sometime last year, she heard there was a vacant shop in Port Shepstone and she said she was leasing it to open a coffee shop, which later became a restaurant. She was very artistic. She’d do portrait paintings, mosaics and she was also good at sewing,” she said, pointing at one of the many paintings lining the walls of her Musgrave home.

There will be no funeral service for Douglas. Her mother said she will be cremated today at 10 am and only friends will be in attendance.

Asked about what would happen to her daughter’s business, Luckin said she needed to clear her head first and try and make sense of her loss, and then she will look into her daughter’s business and flat in Port Shepstone.

“She once had a business partner, but had since cut ties with her after some disagreement on how things should be run,” she said.

De Beer said she would give her friend all the support she needed. “I watched Leanne grow up to be a beautiful young woman. Our hope is that those responsible will be dealt with severely,” she said.

Police have told Luckin that a post-mortem will take up to three weeks.

The Umkomaas policemen who shot at Douglas are still on duty.

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