The serial killer who brutally murdered three pensioners on separate occasions was arrested as he brazenly returned to Jacaranda Lodge at 1.30am this morning to strike again.
Alert security guards spotted the suspect lurking in the shadows of the old age home and apprehended him. Police rushed to the scene and arrested the suspect, who the night before, had allegedly slit the throat of 89-year-old Patricia Elizabeth Tugwell, the third victim within a month.
Eighty-nine-year-old pensioner, Patricia Elizabeth Tugwell, was found with her throat slit at her apartment in the Jacaranda Lodge, a retirement village in Pietermaritz Street, on Tuesday morning. According to the police report, Tugwell was found by a staff member in a pool of blood.
On July 21, an 89-year-old disabled man was also found murdered at the Jacaranda Lodge. He had been stabbed in the head. A pair of scissors was also found at the scene. Electronic goods were stolen.
A week prior, a 92-year-old resident at the Kenwyn Old Age Home, also on Pietermaritz Street, was found dead by a cleaner. It is believed the woman had been strangled to death while a small flat-screen TV and two cell phones were taken.
Police sources told Capital Newspapers that the 27-year-old suspect was positively linked through fingerprints to all three murders and another housebreaking in town.
This afternoon detectives were busy interrogating the suspect, doing a pointing out of the scene and recovery of exhibits. The suspect was expected to make a confession in court.
In the wake of Tugwell’s murder, the second at the facility, panic-stricken residents and their families, said they feared for their lives after the murders. Little did anyone suspect that the killer would try to strike the very next night.
PADCA CEO, Trevor Clowes said that old age homes and SAPS were on high alert following a spate of murders targeting the elderly.
“We are appalled at the senseless violence against the frail, defenceless elders in our community. The safety of all our residents is of paramount importance and we are fully aware of the expectations placed on us by the residents and their families when it comes to security,” he said.
An elderly resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he and his wife had moved to the Jacaranda retirement home in search of safer living conditions after being victims of crime nine times in their home in Dunveria.
“We have been victims before, and never did I think we’d fall victim to crime again. This should not happen; the elderly need peace of mind,” said the pensioner.