A hero's send off for popular Durban cop

2016-01-27 19:20
Sergeant Malcolm Goodwin's brother, Mark, was handed the SA flag during the official funeral. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Sergeant Malcolm Goodwin's brother, Mark, was handed the SA flag during the official funeral. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – While the congregation sang the hymn, Amazing Grace, Michelle Goodwin stared blankly at the wooden cross with a figure of Jesus hanging from the ceiling and wept.

Surrounded by mourners who had gathered at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Musgrave, Durban, Goodwin rocked back and forth and cried for her brother, Sergeant Malcolm Goodwin, 40.

Goodwin died tragically during a tactical intervention exercise at a Pietermaritzburg shooting range on January 20 when he was shot by accident. The Mercury reported at the time that the officers were divided into groups to enact various scenarios.

A colleague fired a shot and the bullet struck Goodwin, who had reportedly been acting as a resisting bystander, in the chest.

The officer, who was in the Durban Accident Combating Team, was given an official funeral.

Many described Goodwin as a friendly, dedicated and brave policeman.

Goodwin’s brother-in-law, Brett Saunders, said he would miss everything about him.

"Malcolm looked up to Mark [his brother] and he wanted to become a policeman like Mark... and when he joined the police we had to accept that being a policeman is not an easy task."

Saunders said Goodwin always managed to bring a smile and joy to the family.

"He will be remembered for his shiny bald head, his grin from ear-to-ear and driving around in his yellow van waving around at everybody.

"He was a special person and I think God took him at the right time, at his best... All he ever talked about during the day and at night was the SAPS and he was a good and professional policeman. All he ever wanted in life was to be a good policeman."

'Lost a hero'

Goodwin’s immediate commander, Warrant Officer Bongani Gasa, said he was shocked by his colleague's sudden death. Gasa said Goodwin always spoke the truth. "He had a no-nonsense approach and did not see colour [race] when he dealt with people," said Gasa.

eThekwini cluster commander Major General KCZ Mkhize said, although he did not know Goodwin personally, he could tell what kind of policeman and man he was.

"Today we have lost a hero. The strange way in which he departed left all of us deeply shocked... He was a very friendly person who related to every person from every background...

"He was diligent and passionate about his work. And I also understand that he was... very popular in the community."

Mkhize said the police were generally a close-knit family.

"So naturally, when one of us passes on, we suddenly feel vulnerable and even become uncertain about the future… It is during times like these that we should close ranks and cry together."

When Goodwin saw the South African flag removed from her brother’s coffin and handed to her older brother, Mark, she sobbed uncontrollably.

The service ended with a funeral procession down Musgrave Road, as the family headed to the Clare Estate Crematorium.

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