Pensioner’s murder left

The family of the elderly man who was killed in a retirement complex at the weekend were stunned by the manner of his death.

Roland Heathcote (89), who did not have the use of his legs, was found dead from one stab wound to the right side of the head in his third-floor room at the Jacaranda Lodge retirement complex in Pietermaritz Street.

Read: Terror at old age home

Police said the murderer apparently climbed up the side of the building at about 1 am on Friday onto the roof and entered through an unlocked window into the victim’s flat on the third floor. A pair of small scissors, believed to be the murder weapon, was found at the scene.

Vincent Heathcote (87), Roland’s younger brother, said he was “stunned” when he learnt about the murder. “His death is a real tragedy, I just couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Vincent said Roland had just celebrated his 89th birthday on Wednesday last week, July 18.

He said Roland was born in the Transvaal, grew up in East London and later moved to Pietermaritzburg in pursuit of his career as a master printer.

Roland moved into the Jacaranda Lodge retirement complex in 1999 with his wife Paulina, who died in 2007.

Vincent said Roland had lost the use of his legs due to old age.

“He loved watching different sport codes, from soccer, cricket, tennis, rugby and other sports. He was a very clever man. He loved his family and we were very close. His death was very unfortunate, no one deserves to die in that manner,” said Vincent.

Roland had three sons, one of whom died. Vincent said they will start finalising funeral arrangements once the eldest son returns from Canada.

The Witness had previously reported that 92-year-old Patricia O’Connor was murdered almost two weeks ago at the Kenwyn Retirement Home, which is a stone’s throw away from Jacaranda Lodge.

O’Connor was strangled to death on July 11 by an intruder who had apparently climbed over a high wall and into the property.

Read: Woman (92) slain in home

Trevor Clowes, the CEO of the Pietermaritzburg and District Council for the Care of the Aged and of Kenwyn Retirement Home (Padca), where O’Connor was murdered, said they were “appalled at the senseless violence against frail, defenceless elders in the community”.

“I cannot begin to imagine what the families are going through right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.”

Clowes said their residents were naturally worried about the recent events.

“The safety of our residents is of paramount importance to us and we have done everything we can to improve the security at Kenwyn,” he said.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said there have been no arrests in either case.