Family tragedy that started with broken dreams

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IOL news dec 31 gun . .

Durban - Teenage sisters aged 16 and 17 endured a nightmare that lasted several hours in their family home in Westville North on Saturday, as they watched their father shoot their mother, his lover and then himself in a family drama that was precipitated by money and broken dreams.

The man, living on Duncan Road, off Blair Atholl Road in one of the city’s most sought-after suburbs, apparently plotted his killing spree carefully.

Believed to be the former manager of an FNB branch in Port Shepstone, the man is said to have taken a severance package in order to start his own business venture.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said the venture had foundered and left the man with financial worries.

“He was also going through a bitter divorce with his wife, who was living separately.

“The children have said their father did not want their mother to inherit all his assets after his death, because they were married in community of property.

“He chose this way of making sure that his assets would go straight to his children,” the neighbour said.

In addition to ensuring his wife would have no claim on his estate, the man is reported to have decided his mistress, who lived on the property in Westville, would have to die too.

“In a cool, rational way, he showed his daughters the key to the safe, and where all his policies were kept, and reassured them, saying: ‘You will be all right. You will be well taken care of after our deaths.’

“The daughters are, understandably, in a very bad way,” said the man.

“Their father told them exactly what he was going to do, but they were afraid he might snap and harm them if they attempted to alert anyone.

Estranged

“He phoned their mother to come to the Duncan Road house.

“Relatives cautioned her not to go alone, because there was an acrimonious history between the two estranged partners, but she was obviously afraid for her daughters’ well-being, so she ignored their warnings.

“The couple argued when she arrived, and then the man shot her in front of their daughters. She was still alive and the girls could hear her breathing, but could do nothing to help her.

“Then he told them he was going to shoot his girlfriend, who stayed in the servants’ quarters.

“He shot and killed her, and then turned the gun on himself.

“Only then were the two terrified girls able to get help. The next-door neighbours were alerted by their screams, and went to their assistance.”

When the Sunday Tribune arrived at the scene, a steady flow of shocked relatives from both sides of the family, as well as the family of the man’s lover, were streaming into the property next to the house, where the neighbours had allowed police to set up a command centre.

Counsellors from the NGO Careline Crisis and Trauma Centre were on hand to counsel the girls and their relatives.

Neighbours said the family members were quiet and kept to themselves.

The deceased man is understood to also have two elder sons.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker confirmed that Westville police found three bodies in the house.

“We found the body of a female in the main house, as well as two bodies, a male and female, in the outbuilding. We also found a 9mm pistol next to one of the bodies,” said Naicker.

“At this stage we are not sure what happened. It appears to have been a murder-suicide, but we have opened a murder and inquest docket.”

No arrests have been made. - Sunday Tribune



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