Durban - Heartbroken Durban businessman Alvin Meyer has vowed to always leave a candle burning in a window to show his murdered partner where his home is.
Meyer, 63, pledged to keep the candle burning day and night within hours of Stephen ‘Steve’ John Edmondstone, 62, losing his life at the hands of two armed intruders on Saturday night.
He spoke to the Daily News on Monday of how he tried desperately to save the life of his friend.
The tragedy which changed Meyer’s life forever was over in 90 seconds.
During that time, the intruders invaded their home in Collard Road, uMgeni Park, shot Edmondstone and made off with Meyer’s laptop.
After Edmondstone collapsed in Meyer’s arms, Meyer pressed a panic button alerting his security company, then contacted Edmondstone’s son, Mark, telling him to get there quickly as his father had been shot.
As the police and paramedics raced to the crime scene, Meyer and Mark Edmondstone tried to stop the blood pouring from the victim’s wrist.
“We tried to make him comfortable. I could see he was battling to stay alive; he was foaming at the mouth,” he said. “I was saying: ‘Steve, just hang in there’.”
By the time the paramedics arrived and took over, Meyer was “beyond himself”.
Then came the news he had dreaded: his partner had died.
“In 90 seconds it was done and dusted. They had killed my partner and changed our lives. Steve was really and truly my hero, partner and my friend and he is gone… I hope the police are able to get these callous, thoughtless people so that there is justice.”
Police are investigating and no arrests have been made.
The couple, who bought their Collard Road house five years ago, owned an upmarket decor and events company.
The murder had sent shock waves through the Durban North community, said Meyer.
He said people had been calling and leaving messages and flowers and that he had received unbelievable support.
“Steve was so full of life, he loved people and animals. He was larger than life and everyone loved him.”
Meyer believes that the house represented an opportunity target for the killers.
Although the property does not have a wall or burglar proofing, the partners usually put their security beam system on at night.
“But it was only quarter-to-seven and we are two levels up from the road. You are supposed to be able to enjoy your house. I was watching television and Steve was in the kitchen cooking.”
He said the two intruders came in through the open bathroom window in the main bedroom and along a passageway to the lounge.
Three of the six dogs in the house began barking, indicating that there were strangers in the house.
The intruders, in their 20s, had guns. The more aggressive man had a pistol, and the other intruder was armed with a revolver, he said.
“I just put my hands up and asked them what they wanted, but they did not say. They just kept saying, ‘shut up, shut up’.”
Meyer, who was hit on the side of his head with one of the guns, called out to Edmondstone to stay in the kitchen.
“He came through the doorway and flew at them, telling them to get out of his house… He went towards them… whether he saw the guns or the blood on my head, I don’t know.”
There was a shot that sounded like a cap gun.
By now the action had moved to the main bathroom.
“I heard a second shot and Steve said, ‘Alvin, Alvin, Alvin… and the rest is history.”
Meyer said although there were only two shots, the victim had three injuries: one to his stomach, the other through his wrists, with this second bullet then entering his chest.
He said the more aggressive man had earlier picked up a knife that was on display in the house and he could not understand why he would want it. After taking Meyer’s laptop from the bedroom, with a bag containing his credit cards, ID book and driving licence, the men climbed out through the bathroom window.
The man with the pistol snapped a cactus as they made their escape. He dropped the pistol and the knife he had stolen in the pool.
When they were found the next day, it was discovered that the pistol had never had a magazine, that a catch was broken and it had never been fired.
“So it was the quieter man with the revolver who killed Steve, not the one with the pistol.
“That was why he had armed himself with the knife,” Meyer said.
His bag containing the documents and cards was also found abandoned as the men fled.
“So it was all for a laptop.”
Meyer said a witness heard the intruders shouting at someone in a gold Toyota Venture that they were on their way and then saw the waiting getaway car disappear.
Meyer criticised the conditions and attitude of the workers at the Phoenix mortuary where he had to formally identify his friend’s body.
“The police told me it was the best mortuary. I knew it was going to be a horrid experience, but I did not expect what I found.”
He said the mortuary was dirty, that two attendants were laughing and that Edmondstone, who was still covered in blood, was not even covered up.
“Steve was such a private person. It was so undignified. You could not make my grief any worse than it is, but this did not make it any easier.”
He complained to a manager about the attendants and said he received an apology.
Edmondstone was a single father who raised two sons. While his son, Mark, lives in Durban, his other son, Jason, lives abroad and will fly out for the funeral service, which is expected to take place on Monday at the Durban North Methodist Church.
Meanwhile, the door of the main bedroom at the crime scene remains closed.
“I have cleaned up in there, but I can’t get the blood smears off the wall,” Meyer explained.