A week after alleged serial killer Kershwin Goldstone, 22, was nabbed at the Kenwyn Retirement home where he allegedly killed 92-year-old Patricia O’Connor, his family say the events have been “surreal”.
Speaking to Maritzburg Sun, Goldstone’s mother, who did not want to be named for fear of victimization, said that she was still recovering from the shock of knowing her son confessed to killing three elderly people.
The distraught mother of four said she and her eldest son, Tyrell Goldstone, had visited the Pietermaritzburg Police Station holding cells in an attempt to understand her son’s motive.
“He looked distant…He was bruised … He did not want to talk. I left that holding cell without any answers,” said the distraught mother.
A close family friend, Merle Williams, said the family was still coming to grips with the events.
“The family is not taking it well; a group of community women from Woodlands are planning to see the family very soon to pray for them. They are hurting that their son, their child, could be behind all those killings. His mother told us to bring her a Bible. She needs faith and support,” said Williams.
Goldstone’s brother Tyrell said they could not believe his brother’s involvement in all of this. “He is a very quiet person. He was not even involved in fights in school. I just don’t know how he could kill three people,” said an emotional Tyrell.
Goldstone’s former schoolmate and mentor at Alexandra High School, Paul Gordon, said he was in disbelief that the “silent physical science and English whizz” had been implicated in not one, but three murders.
“It is disheartening. Kershwin was quiet and, in comparison to other boys in his grades, he was the softer spoken and well mannered. It is unbelievable that he is accused of this,” he said.
“He was keen and diligent, I do not remember him getting detention or being reprimanded for misbehaviour,” said Gordon.
A week after all the elders have been laid to rest, their families have spoken about the brutality of the killings and their loss.
Timothy O’ Connor, son of slain 92-year-old Kenwyn resident Patricia O’ Connor, who spoke to Maritzburg Sun after Goldstone’s first court appearance, said he was satisfied a suspect had been apprehended.
Despite the arrest though, he said, nothing could compensate for him losing his mother, his support system and close friend.
“My father passed away when I was a year old. She was all I had. She was my foundation and support,” he said.
O’Connor, who used to live in Johannesburg, moved to Pietermaritzburg 10 years ago, due to health issues and to be closer to his mother.
“We moved her to the home so she could get the best care, not to lose her,” he said.
The devastated son added that he was still questioning why his frail mother was subjected to such brutality.
“My mother did not have much with her. All she had that was valuable were a few pieces of jewellery. It was not royal jewellery but it meant something to her. It was hers. He could have just taken it and she would never have even been able to put up a fight or do anything to him,” he said.
“It was just malicious behaviour on his behalf and I applaud the police for apprehending the suspect for the senseless killing of old, frail people. Now we have to wait and see how the justice system will be able to help us,” said O’ Connor.
Elise Van Dyk, niece of 89-year-old Roland Heathcote said the family was still coming to grips with the tragic loss.
“My uncle was such a kind hearted man. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d lose him so tragically. It has been difficult. But we hope justice will prevail,” she said.
Heathcote, a printer, was known for printing the English version of the Qu’ran – the holy book of Islam. He moved to Jacaranda Lodge in 1999 with his wife Paulina from the Eastern Cape, due to ill- health. Paulina died in 2017.
An emotional Van Dyk told the Maritzburg Sun that the family still had unanswered questions regarding the brutal murder.
“To the murderer, we don’t know what brought him to do what he did. We hope one day we’ll get answers,” she said.
Janine De Waal, daughter of 89-year-old Patricia Tugwell said the family had deliberated moving her from the home or upgrading security measures at the home after the first murder.
The former credit controller at Fidelity Guards in Durban moved into Jacaranda Lodge in 2013.
“It took a lot of persuading for her to move to Pietermaritzburg. She eventually moved from her flat in Durban into what I thought was a safe place where she would be taken care off. De Waal’s worst nightmare became a reality when she was contacted by the retirement home on Tuesday morning.
“I could not believe it. We were still trying to get quotations for new burglar guards,” she said.
She added Tugwell was living in fear due to the first incident.
“She was locking herself in her bedroom from 7 pm every night because she was living in fear,” said De Waal.