Muso lay slain for hours before cops responded
Why did police take so long to start searching for the body? In the end, somebody else did the job for them
The death of British-born musician Simon Milliken – slain in a knife attack in Durban’s Burman Bush – has raised questions on why police took several hours to start their search.
Milliken, a former principal double bassist in the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra who retired last year, had been on a walk through the conservancy with the orchestra’s guest conductor Hong Kong-born Peri So, when they were attacked by a knife-wielding man at the nature reserve on Friday.
And while So managed to flee, Milliken died in a thicket in the foetal position after he was stabbed in the chest. It is not known whether he was robbed.
And now, days after his death, police brass are investigating why hours passed before search and rescue dogs were dispatched to the scene.
Police sources with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke to Times Select on condition of anonymity, said police had been alerted to the attack in the late afternoon and had traced Milliken’s cellphone to his car.The sources said search and rescue dog handlers from Durban were without a car, having had their lone vehicle taken for repairs after breaking down.
After scrambling for assistance, the closest specialised dog and handler had to drive from Empangeni, and was only able to conduct a search in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The expanse of bush, compounded by darkness, proved too vast, and the search was called off, only for Milliken’s body to be found at first light by a man walking his own dog in the reserve.
A fleet of other police vehicles, not in use, had sat at the provincial headquarters less than five kilometres from Burman Bush.
The green lung in the suburb of Morningside has become a haven for petty thieves who prey upon walkers in the park.
The dangers of using the park have been highlighted on Wikipedia after several muggings.
“The ward councillor highlighted the need for repair of breaches in the reserve’s fencing. Inspections of the reserve’s fencing have started by staff at the reserve as well as the ward councillor himself.
“Members of the South African Police Services including the local K9 unit have been given access keys to make random patrols,” the page reads.Cathy Peacock, a close friend of Milliken’s, described his slaying as a “terrible tragedy”.
“What has happened leaves me beyond words, trying to process this. Simon was always such a delight to be with. I loved him for his wry wit, for his wholehearted enjoyment of life, not least his passion for opera, and for his kindly interest in those around him. Working without him in our midst is going to be very sad for all his friends and colleagues.”
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker had not responded to questions at the time of publishing.