Killer ‘wanted a high’
Serial murderer Kershwin Goldstone (22) revealed yesterday that the reason he killed three elderly Pietermaritzburg residents in local homes for the aged was to stop them calling out for help.
Goldstone, who began his criminal career at the age of 18 when he was given a suspended sentence for theft, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Pietermaritzburg high court to eight charges.
He disclosed that his drug addiction drove him to rob and kill Patricia Moreen Ann O’Connor (92), Roland Heathcote (89) and Patricia Elizabeth Tugwell (89).
A nervous-looking Goldstone stood in the dock yesterday confirming in a hushed tone the contents of his plea, which was read out in court by his advocate, Zina Anastasiou.
In it he said that after leaving Boys Town in Tongaat, he returned to the city where he was raised in the Joseph Baines Salvation Army Home. After a short period he began living on the streets.
On the night of July 11, he needed to buy drugs.
“I wanted to be high from the drugs because I knew it would be a cold night and being high kept me warm. I was living in a toilet on semi-vacant land next to the Kenwyn Home in Pietermaritz Street.”
At around 10 pm, he climbed over the wall and went inside through an open window. He walked up the stairs and climbed through another window into a bedroom that was empty.
“I climbed through the bedroom window to the outside of the building and I moved across the building, using the DStv dishes and drain pipes as leverage. I saw an open window and jumped through it,” he said.
O’Connor was watching television and when she saw him she started shouting.
“I quickly grabbed her to stop her shouting. I strangled her. I took some items, including a TV, cellphone and a toaster,” he said.
Goldstone said he sold the items to buy drugs.
On July 21, he said he was “high from smoking rock [cocaine]”, which he calls “eat some more” because as soon as the high stops he gets depressed.
He then decided to get into Jacaranda Lodge.
He climbed up a street pole and jumped over the fence into the lodge grounds. He used a small ladder, which was already there, to climb onto a first floor balcony.
“I could not see into the rooms because the curtains were all closed so I continued climbing up the drainpipes until I got to the roof.”
He then noticed an open window. Goldstone said he climbed down a drainpipe and went through the open window into an enclosed verandah.
“I opened the sliding door. An alarm went off and I heard someone moving in an adjacent room.”
He said he ran into the room and saw Heathcote sitting on his bed “with what looked like an alarm or emergency button in his hand”.
“I ran towards him and held his throat. He swore at me. I grabbed a pair of scissors from his toiletry bag and I stabbed him on his head, near his temple. I can’t remember how many times, but he had stopped struggling.
“I took a bag from the wardrobe and I filled it with food from the kitchen because I was starving. I looked for money and found R200 and a laptop.”
Goldstone said he left the same way he came in, but while climbing up the drainpipes the bag fell, which alerted the security guards. He hid where he was until the early hours of the morning and then ran away.
On July 31, he was again “high on rock” and felt he needed more. He went back to the lodge and climbed the drainpipe to the second verandah floor.
“I looked through a sliding door and noticed ornaments which looked like gold to me. I broke the glass of the sliding door using a small rock from the flower pot.”
Tugwell heard the noise and came out of a room screaming, he said.
“I ran to her and pushed her to the floor and started suffocating her. I let her go when it looked like she was unconscious.
“I could still hear her breathing. I was walking around when the doorbell rang. It was loud and the lady stirred and she was getting up.
“I grabbed a pair of scissors and I stabbed her about five times in the neck. I saw R200. I took it and ran away,” he said.
Goldstone admitted his actions were wrongful, unlawful and intentional.
Judge Piet Bezuidenhout convicted Goldstone on eight counts — murder, housebreaking with intent to steal, and theft and aggravated robbery. Sentencing takes place next week.