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Daughter’s grief as elderly mom, special needs sister killed by family friend, they offered to help

Rita Westfahl, 76, and her 58-year-old daughter, Carol Lesley Westfahl were murdered in their Pietermaritzburg home in May. Picture: Supplied

Rita Westfahl, 76, and her 58-year-old daughter, Carol Lesley Westfahl were murdered in their Pietermaritzburg home in May. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 5, 2022


Durban: A Pietermaritzburg woman whose mother and special needs sister were killed by a family friend said she was unable to comprehend why they were killed.

Shane Steven Boucher, 38, pleaded guilty to murdering Rita Westfahl, 76, and her 58-year-old daughter, Carol Lesley Westfahl, on the 25th of May 2022.

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He was convicted to 25 years behind bars in the Pietermaritzburg High Court by Judge Piet Koen on Monday.

Boucher also pleaded guilty to one count of theft.

In his Section 105A sentence and plea agreement, Boucher, represented by legal aid attorney Amanda Hulley, told the court that he had known Rita for over 15 years because she had been neighbours with his mother.

He said on the day of the murder, Rita was welcoming, and during the visit, they shared two 750ml quarts of Lion Lager beers.

Boucher said he was due to travel to Durban to visit friends, but Rita was concerned it was too late for him to travel and suggested he stay over, which he accepted.

He said, during the night, he went to the kitchen to drink water.

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Boucher said it was dark because of load shedding.

He said, while drinking water, he felt a presence behind him, and without checking who it was, he drew his knife from his belt and stabbed Rita twice in the neck.

He then killed Carol because he was scared she would tell the police and fled in Rita’s car.

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Boucher was arrested in Bluff, Durban, two weeks later.

In a victim impact statement presented to the court by Senior State Advocate Candy Kander, Rita’s younger daughter Colleen Blignaut described her mother as a loving woman.

“She was friendly to all and would always greet everyone with a smile. When help was needed, my mom would do her best to assist in any way she could.

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“She was generous with whatever she had, and she taught me that the value in life was not in things but that it was in people.”

Blignaut described her sister Carol as a person with the kindest heart.

“She had so much love to give, with an innocence to trust anyone. She loved to tease, play and nurture her young nephews and nieces. We all adored her.

“My mom and sister Carol have shared every milestone, and now, just like that, they are gone, with no comprehensible reason for this abrupt ending. I am still in shock. I have struggled to sleep, trying to process the enormity of what has happened.

“I wake each morning to the sinking realisation that my beautiful mother and sister are gone and that it is not a terrible dream. It is something I am sure I am going to have to struggle with for a long time.”

Blignaut said the brutal way in which her family was taken away from her would haunt her forever.

She said her daughters, aged 10 and 11, have been robbed of their grandmother and aunt.

“My daughters have lost this unconditional love. They have been robbed of sharing any memories, achievements or milestones with their granny.”