Nicolette Kinnear, widow of slain top cop Charl Kinnear, being comforted at his burial. Nicolette said she had not returned to work fully as yet but had been receiving ‘tons of support’. Picture: Ian Landsberg African News Agency (ANA)
Nicolette Kinnear, widow of slain top cop Charl Kinnear, being comforted at his burial. Nicolette said she had not returned to work fully as yet but had been receiving ‘tons of support’. Picture: Ian Landsberg African News Agency (ANA)

‘We’re trying to pick up the pieces’

By Shanice Naidoo Time of article published Oct 24, 2020

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MORE than a month after her top cop husband, Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear, was shot, Nicolette Kinnear cannot bring herself to face her husband’s alleged killer in court yet.

Nicolette said she has not been to any of the court appearances, where Zane Killian stands accused of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and the illegal interception of communication.

“We are not taking it day by day. We are taking it half an hour at a time. Keeping yourself busy does not help to deal with the trauma. We would think our world would come to a standstill but it just doesn’t work like that,” Nicolette said.

She said the family had a sense of peace because God had been helping them get through the assassination of her husband just over a month ago.

“We are trying to pick up the pieces and trying to get our lives as back to ‘normal’ as we can. As much as you need alone time, it’s not something that one can get through alone.”

She said she had not returned to work fully as yet but was receiving tons of support from people for which she said is overwhelming, heart-warming and she was grateful.

“My husband was a quiet person but yet had a huge presence in the house which we miss. Often he would be home but would be working. He was not this social butterfly. You don’t hear him come in you see him. He would either be sitting on the bed or at the back busy writing up and preparing for his cases.”

The South African Police Service held a memorial service for the slain cop. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA).

She described how her son had said to her “you know how many times I’ve got up to ask ‘has dad said already what time is he coming back?’”

“His investigations took him away a lot but we would always check in with each other at night and video call. It’s tough. We haven’t touched or moved any of his things or packed up, we still refer to stuff as his cupboard, his place, we haven’t changed anything in the house, his space is still his space. The boys take turns sleeping in the bed with me, we not ready to clear his stuff out.”

Nicolette said she had known her husband for 36 years and doesn’t want to ever replace him.

“If I think of my varsity years, he was part of them, if I think about my high school years. It’s like a lifetime that you just can’t wipe out and I realised very quickly that I am not going to erase half my life, I just can’t. I must learn to deal with my pain but also be able to have memories of us.”

She said her husband came across to people as a stern and unfriendly person but he had a huge heart because would do things for the next person like getting up in the middle of the night if he had to.

“He was so passionate about his job. For him, it was never just about him or us it was always about somebody else or something else. He was a people’s person, he loved to help and I think that’s why his job was never really a job for him but a calling.”

Around the house, Nicolette said he had funny things he would do and he loved his tea.

A screen grab of the man who shot and killed Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear outside his house in Bishop Lavis. Picture: Supplied.

Leading up to his death there was nothing different about their week. Kinnear was the duty standby officer.

That Friday morning he went early to work because he had a standby meeting at noon. She never spoke to him on the phone, they chatted on WhatsApp during the day till about 10am and that afternoon she got a call from her son to say Kinnear was shot.

Her colleagues took her home.

“My husband was passionate about youth and making a difference, If he put his mind to something and believed in it, he would work for it and wouldn’t stop. Did he know his life was in danger? Absolutely. He had been receiving threats for 10 years. It wasn’t only about us as a family, or he would have packed up. There was a bigger picture for him. He stood and lived by his oath to serve and protect,” she said.

“One thing he could never fathom was corruption. The moment you were on the wrong side, you were no longer a colleague. Our fight against his assassination has not stopped. There are other Charl Kinnears out there fighting for the right things. I encourage others, and to remember that all not officers are corrupt.”

She said while she knows that the bail application is next week, she doesn’t have a need or desire to go.

“Maybe I will at a later stage. I want to respect the investigating officers and let them do their job..”

Carlisle, their eldest son, who spoke to Kinnear last, said some days are worse than others.

“I am heartbroken. I think to myself, could I have done things differently? Now I go with my mom wherever she needs to go.

“I miss his voice. Sometimes I just want to call his phone so I can hear his voice. I miss watching football with him. He was a Manchester United supporter and I’m a Liverpool supporter so there would be that. He would say though, if his team played poorly. He was a supporter of football.”

The murder scene of anti-gang unit (AGU) section commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Casleigh, the youngest son, said he would miss catching fish with his father and spending mornings with him.

“My dad and I would get up around the same time so we would spend time together in the kitchen. I gravitated more towards my dad and we did a lot together like signing at my grandpa’s funeral – we have a lot of memories. He had a dry sense of humour and would take out the old photos when friends came over.”

Zane Killian will be appearing on Monday at the Bellville Regional Court for the start of his bail application.

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