Granny-killer's victims 'too weak to lift a plate of food'
Judge rips into Kershwin Goldstone who murdered three pensioners, saying his crack addiction was no excuse
Kershwin Goldstone will spend his adult life in a cell, isolated from society, as punishment for the three lives he took in cold blood.
The self-confessed serial killer – who stabbed and strangled Patricia O’Connor‚ 92‚ Roland Heathcote‚ 89‚ and Patricia Tugwell‚ 89 – had a coldness in his stare as Judge Piet Bezuidenhout handed down three life terms on Wednesday.
“He is someone who needs to be removed from society for a long time,” the judge said in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.“The crimes were heinous. The offender was a mature young man who robbed and killed to satisfy his own desires. Such conduct cannot be tolerated and the court must send a clear message to those like-minded individuals that this will be dealt with severely.”
The 22-year-old addict had stalked old-age homes in the Pietermaritzburg city centre, breaking into retirement lodges to steal. All so he could feed his insatiable appetite for the therapeutic high that came with smoking crack cocaine.
It was chasing this high that drove him to murder – his victims too frail to fight back.
Some, said Bezuidenhout, were “not even strong enough to lift a plate of food”.
O’Connor was the first to be murdered, killed in her flat in Kenwyn on July 21. She had been strangled in the dead of night.
Days later‚ at Jacaranda Lodge next door‚ Heathcote was stabbed to death with scissors as he sat on his bed.
Tugwell was throttled to the point of unconsciousness and when she started to stir, Goldstone stabbed her repeatedly in the throat with scissors until her cries were silenced.
“If it was not enough that he robbed them, but he killed them as soon as they moved or made a sound,” the judge said.“They posed no threat to him, a physically fit young man who could climb poles and drainpipes. He killed his victims to ensure that they did not make a noise, and acted with premeditation in doing so,” Bezuidenhout added.
He found that despite an address in mitigation that his overriding urge to get high had driven his murderous spree, Goldstone was self-aware and able to determine what was right and what was wrong.
“It is clear from his detailed description of events that he remembers well what he had done on each occasion and he was not affected by the drugs he had taken before the incident.
“We have no evidence that it was because of the effect of drugs that he was induced to commit the crimes. This cannot be a mitigating factor,” said Bezuidenhout.
The court heard that Goldstone’s fate had been decided long before he took his place in the dock, with this prison-bound trajectory plotted early in his life.His movement between orphanages and reformatories in his formative years had exposed him to drugs and gang life, and provided the foundation for an inevitable life of crime.
Advocate Zina Anastasiou, representing Goldstone, said the provenance of his addiction and life on the street could be traced to his youth.
“When he was three he went to live in a Salvation Army facility and when he was 15 years old he landed up in Boys’ Town [a reformatory].“The reason for the move was behavioural difficulty ... the reasons thereof the accused does not wish to place on record. At Boys’ Town he was introduced to drugs by gangs and become and addict, which is evident by his previous convictions.
“He was told to leave Boys’ Town and return to Pietermaritzburg just before he turned 18. This was when he landed up living on the streets. On the street his drug addiction continued,” Anastasiou added.
“He was affected by his drug addiction and he could not go back to a normal life. His whole life was affected by his addiction,” she held.