Relief at serial killer sentencing

Kershwin Goldstone was sentenced to a collective 135 years for killing three pensioners in a 20 day period.

Serial killer 22-year-old Kershwin Goldstone who held a 20-day reign of terror over pensioners in the city was sentenced to an effective 25 years in prison and castigated for his gruesome and heinous murders.
Sentencing Goldstone on Wednesday, Pietermaritzburg High Court judge Piet Bezuidenhout said he showed “ regret at being caught rather than remorse for his actions.” Emotions ran high later when the judge recounted the last moments of those who were killed by Goldstone, saying “ one could only imagine the terrifying last moments the victims faced.” Family members and residents from Jacaranda Lodge, who were present at court, all heaved a sigh of relief after the sentencing.
Goldstone pleaded guilty to eight counts, including murder‚ housebreaking with intent to steal‚ theft and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Goldstone’s sentences‚ which add up to 135 years collectively‚ will run concurrently.
Goldstone strangled Patricia O’Connor‚ 92, stabbed Roland Heathcote‚ 89‚ with a pair of scissors, and slit 89-year-old Patricia Tugwell’s throat during his killing spree at the Kenwyn Retirement Lodge and Jacaranda Lodge.
State prosecutor advocate Mbongeni Mthembu asked for the maximum punishment to be imposed. Advocate Zina Anastasiou, representing Goldstone, argued that her client’s killing spree stemmed from his addiction to drugs that started at an early age. “He was abandoned at the Salvation Army at the age of three and by 15 he was sent to Boy’s Town. He had behaviour difficulties and turned to drugs. His need to feed his drug habit led to him killing three people,” said Anastasiou.
Judge Bezuidenhout, however, said Goldstone’s actions were premeditated to feed his greed and desire for drugs.
“ There was no evidence to prove that during his killing sprees, he was under the influence of drugs. He is a fit young man who recollected his crimes vividly, providing a detailed description of each murder. He was aware of his actions which were premeditated to feed his greed and desire for drugs. One can only imagine the terrifying last moments his victims faced. They were old and frail and posed no threat to him. He took their most precious possession – their lives in their twilight years. His actions and the gruesome manner in which he carried out each murder left his victim’s families distressed, residents at the two retirement homes and staff traumatised and living in fear for their safety and life. Fortunately, he was arrested before he could take the life of a fourth victim,” said judge Bezuidenhout. The judge further spoke about Goldstone’s brazen modus operandi including his ability to scale high walls, climb three floors up and even swing from balcony to balcony in search of his victims, all of them elderly white pensioners. Relatives of the deceased, said in their victim impact statements that they were traumatised to know that their loved ones were killed in such a gruesome manner. Timothy O’Connor, Patricia O’Connor’s son, said he was satisfied that Goldstone received the maximum sentence.
“Whether he can be rehabilitated and released back into society remains to be seen considering the environment he will be locked away in and he will be among people of the same ilk. As the judge pointed out, the families of the deceased have the right to oppose and voice concerns at all potential parole hearings relating to the possibility of release in the future. I am not a psychologist but we know that in many instances when criminals similar to Goldstone are released, they resort to their old lifestyle of crime,” said O’ Connor. Residents who attended the sentencing expressed their relief at the sentence handed down, saying they were happy that the sentencing was finally over and that he was going to prison for a very long time. “Since the murders, we have been traumatised and living in fear. We have not been able to leave the lodge or even sleep in peace. We jump at the slightest noise. This has been a terrifying time for us and our families,” they said.

  AUTHOR
Keroshini Paltu

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