Terror at old age home

2018-07-23 14:41
An 89-year-old man was found dead, with a stab would on the side of his head at the Jacaranda Lodge retirement complex. (Nompilo Kunene)

An 89-year-old man was found dead, with a stab would on the side of his head at the Jacaranda Lodge retirement complex. (Nompilo Kunene)

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Elderly residents are concerned about their safety after an 89-year-old disabled man was stabbed to death in his room at a retirement home in the city.

The body of the man, whose name the police would not confirm but which is known to The Witness, was found at the Jacaranda Lodge retirement complex on Pietermaritz Street, a stone’s throw away from the Kenwyn Retirement Home where 92-year-old Patricia O’Connor was murdered almost two weeks ago.

O’Connor was strangled to death on July 11 by an intruder who had apparently climbed over a high wall and into the property.

Read: Woman (92) slain in home

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese told The Witness on Sunday that the murderer apparently climbed up the side of the Jacaranda Lodge building at about 01:00 on Friday, onto the roof and entered through an unlocked window into the victim’s flat on the third floor.

"The man was found with one stab wound to the right side of the head. The deceased was in bed, he could not resist as he [was] disabled, old and frail."

The victim did not have the use of his legs and would not have been able to challenge his murderer.

Sources said an undisclosed amount of cash, two cellphones and a laptop were stolen from the deceased’s flat. Sources also revealed that a pair of small scissors, believed to be the murder weapon, was found at the scene.

Ngobese said police are investigating murder and house robbery cases, there have been no arrests. He also said that there have been no arrests for O'Connor’s murder.

"We can’t say there is a link between the two crimes as yet because no one has been arrested. For now they are both just acts of criminality and we are investigating the cases."

Ngobese further urged people to stop attacking and killing vulnerable and defenceless elderly people, adding that police will be increasing their visibility in the area.

Brian Lodge, the chairperson of Jacaranda Lodge, said he could not comment on the matter as it was being handled by the police.

However, he told The Witness on Sunday that their "security had been upgraded straight away" following the incident.

Lodge said the residents were shaken by the incident and that "they all know about it and are dealing with it".

A Jacaranda resident who asked not to be named, said he and his wife had moved into the retirement complex a few months ago "in search for a safer home" as they had endured nine break-ins at their home in Dunveria.

"I spoke to many people and consulted with different agencies, this place came highly recommended but now this happens.

"Unfortunately nothing can be done, the police and Msunduzi’s council are too busy fighting among themselves and don’t have time to protect the citizens. I doubt the perpetrators will ever be found," he said.

The man said he was not scared following the incident but that safety precautions needed to be taken to ensure that the same incident does not repeat itself.

"The gentleman who died stayed on the third floor and he probably thought it was safe to leave his windows open. The perpetrator must have climbed up the pipes and into his room, stole whatever he wanted and even emptied out his fridge.

"When the night duty security guard was doing his rounds he saw plastic bags on the ground and saw the person scaling up the fence, I’m sure the guy got hurt because the fences have barbed wire," said the man.

Kevin Fourie, a psychologist, said Friday’s incident would definitely bring back the same fears that the first attack brought to residents in the area.

He said some of the concerns that residents might have are that the area is becoming unsafe.

"What worries me the most is that in most of these cases there was no reason for the victims to be attacked in the way they were because they were relatively helpless.

"It’s one thing breaking into someone’s house and stealing stuff, but to violently attack absolutely defenceless people in the process is just taking it a step too far. The aggression shown by the perpetrators is of concern," said Fourie.

Last November, The Witness reported that an 88-year-old man was attacked with a brick at a Howick home for the aged.

In that incident, pensioner Ross Gower had found an intruder hiding under his bed, and was attacked. He survived the attack.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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