Serial murderer Kershwin Goldstone has been given three life terms for killing three elderly people and then stealing small items to sell for drug money.
Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Piet Bezuidenhout on Wednesday sentenced the 22-year-old man to an additional 45 years for three aggravated robberies, which will run concurrently with the life sentences.
The judge remarked that Goldstone, a long-time drug user who had been living on the streets, needs to be removed from society for a very long time. His conduct has sent “shock waves through society”.
The tall, skinny young man who previously had “several brushes with the law but nothing so serious” pleaded guilty to killing Patricia Moreen Ann O’Connor (92), Roland Heathcote (89) and Patricia Elizabeth Tugwell (89) over 20 days last month.
O’Connor was killed at Kenwyn Home while Heathcote and Tugwell were murdered at Jacaranda Lodge. Both homes for the elderly are in Pietermaritz Street.
The judge said that O’Connor was attacked while watching television.
She was frail and weighed 42 kg.
Goldstone said he climbed over the wall of Kenwyn Home and went inside through an open window. He walked up the stairs and climbed through another window into a bedroom that was empty.
He then climbed through the bedroom window to the outside of the building and moved across the building, using the DStv dishes and drain pipes as hand holds. He saw an open window and jumped through it.
Judge Bezuidenhout said that to get to Heathcote’s room, Goldstone climbed up a street pole and jumped over the fence into the lodge grounds.
He used a small ladder that he found on the grounds to climb onto a first floor balcony. He saw an open window, climbed through and attacked Heathcote.
When he needed to steal goods to sell for drug money again, he returned to the lodge, when he killed Tugwell.
Judge Bezuidenhout said it was clear from his plea that he remembered in detail what he had done.
“He has a vivid recollection of what he did on each occasion,” he said, adding there was no evidence to say that because of drugs Goldstone was induced to commit the crimes.
Judge Bezuidenhout added that it was not enough that he robbed the people, but he callously killed them to satisfy his greed and desire.
The three people were all “elderly, frail, defenceless” and posed no threat to Goldstone. They were attacked in the sanctity of their own homes where they should have been safe, said the judge.
He said Goldstone caused severe trauma to their families as well as residents and staff at the homes.
They were too scared to live there.
Timothy O’Connor was the only family member of the elderly people who was present in court.
He said his family is getting over the initial shock of his mother’s death.
He was glad that the matter was finalised quickly. He said the real challenge now was for Correctional Services to rehabilitate Goldstone.
He said that Goldstone will be released eventually and that when that happens, he must not be a threat to anyone.
“Too many people are released and restart their previous practices … he is not going to be placed in a gentle environment.
“Can he look inside himself and find a way forward?” said O’Connor.
Some residents of the lodge were present in court.
A woman who asked not to be named said she owns a unit at the lodge and is terrified.
“I now have to take anti-depressants because of this incident. We put extra burglar gates and even closed our keyholes. It’s like we now live in jail.”