Woman (92) slain in home

2018-07-12 16:44
A woman was found strangled at the Kenwyn Retirement Home in Pietermaritz Street on Wednesday.

A woman was found strangled at the Kenwyn Retirement Home in Pietermaritz Street on Wednesday. (Nhlanhla Nkosi)

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Shock greeted news on Wednesday that a 92-year-old woman was found strangled in her room at a home for the aged in central Pietermaritzburg on Wednedsay.

It is believed the motive for the horrific murder was robbery. The body of Patricia O’Connor was discovered on Wednesday morning by a cleaner at Kenwyn Retirement Home in Pietermaritz Street.

Police said an intruder had apparently jumped over a high wall which adjoins a vacant plot of land, and was believed to have gained access to O’Connor’s room through a window. Sources said O’Connor’s body was found with “strangulation marks” on her neck.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese confirmed that a television set was stolen.

He did not confirm reports by other sources that two cellphones were also taken. Ngobese said a case of murder, house breaking with intent to steal and theft, is under investigation.

A traumatised family member contacted after news of the murder broke declined to speak to The Witness on Wednesay. O’Connor’s son, Timothy, said: “It’s not a good time for us, and I’ve got no comment to make. You’ve called at a very bad time.”

Other family members could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The CEO of the Pietermaritzburg and District Council for the Care of the Aged and of Kenwyn Retirement Home, where the incident occurred, Trevor Clowes, said he did not want to speak about the incident itself as it is the subject of an ongoing police investigation.

However, he told The Witness that the home had resolved to improve security in the wake of the shocking murder. “The alarm company came in and checked the system, and our perimeter security, and looked at which points may be vulnerable and need beefing up. We have an extra roving security guard coming in for the next few weeks to shore things up.”

Kevin Fourie, a psychologist, said an attack like this on an elderly resident would have an effect on the community at the home, as well as relatives of all those who live there. “An act like this against an elderly person is always seen as more heinous because an elderly person is helpless and frail.

“It would traumatise her colleagues, firstly because she would have been their friend, but also there will also be the question of how the intruder got in.

“Family members believe their loved ones are safe in an old age facility because it has nursing staff and security personnel, so it will seriously concern them when something like this happens.”

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  |  murder

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