CityPress - - News - BIÉNNE HUIS­MAN bi­enne.huis­man@city­press.co.za

en years af­ter her six-month-old daugh­ter was killed in a hit that shocked South Africa, Natasha Nor­ton sleeps in the very room where the mur­der took place.

Nor­ton shares the room with her sec­ond daugh­ter, Keira (8), who was born in 2007 – shortly be­fore Dina Ro­drigues was jailed for hir­ing hit­men to kill Natasha’s first child, Jor­danLeigh. Keira has helped the bro­ken-hearted fam­ily heal. “The pain doesn’t go away. It gets a bit eas­ier, but not a whole lot,” Natasha (32) said this week from the fam­ily’s home in Ron­de­bosch East, Cape Town.

“Keira has been the fam­ily’s healer. She’s a won­der­ful child, well-ad­justed and smart.”

Natasha re­vealed that although the house has been ex­ten­sively ren­o­vated to help the Nor­tons put the past be­hind them, she and Keira sleep in the room where Jor­dan-Leigh took her last breath.

She said Keira thinks of her late half-sis­ter “Jordy” as a “star in the sky” – the first star that rises ev­ery evening.

Pho­to­graphs that adorn the walls of the fam­ily’s home show a strong like­ness be­tween Jor­dan and Keira – whose fa­ther is Natasha’s for­mer boyfriend An­drew Mool­man.

“When we go to church, Keira makes a point of vis­it­ing Jordy’s ashes.”

The lit­tle girl also tagged along when the fam­ily vis­ited Jor­dan’s grave down the road from their home on Mon­day – the 10-year an­niver­sary of her mur­der.

But Keira was at school when the fam­ily at­tended the pa­role hear­ing of two of Jor­dan’s killers, Zanethemba Gwada and Bonginkosi Si­genu, on Wed­nes­day – the Nor­tons have tried to shield her from the grue­some event that ir­re­vo­ca­bly changed their lives.

Natasha wept as Gwada and Si­genu (who was 16 at the time of the trial and couldn’t be named) took their seats at the Drak­en­stein Prison in Paarl at an oval ta­ble, just 2m away from her. Their ap­pli­ca­tion for pa­role was de­nied.

“It was so tough, ac­tu­ally hear­ing their voices,” she said. “Hear­ing them talk about hold­ing Jor­dan, about the ac­tual phys­i­cal con­tact they had with my baby.”

The pa­role hear­ing forced the tight-knit fam­ily to re­live the hell of Jor­dan’s death.

Natasha was joined at the hear­ing by her brother Dy­lan, their par­ents Ver­non and Anas­ta­sia, and the fam­ily’s long-term house­keeper Thobeka Buso.

Dy­lan and Buso were tied up at the fam­ily home at the time of the mur­der.

In the highly pub­li­cised trial, it emerged that Ro­drigues, who was then 24, flew into a jeal­ous rage when she learnt that her boyfriend, Neil Wil­son, had fa­thered Jor­dan in a pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship with Nor­ton. She went to a taxi rank and hired hit­men, promis­ing them R10 000.

Gwada, Sipho Mfazwe, Mongezi Bobotyane and Si­genu pre­tended to be couri­ers to gain ac­cess to the fam­ily’s home on June 15 2005, while Natasha was work­ing at a nearby gym. In 2007, Gwada and Si­genu were jailed for 15 years each. Ro­drigues, Mfazwe and Bobotyane re­ceived life sen­tences. Ver­non said the fam­ily had at­tended the pa­role hear­ing be­cause they felt a re­spon­si­bil­ity to take a public stance against pa­role. “Per­son­ally, I feel that Os­car’s [Pis­to­rius] re­lease on pa­role is ab­so­lutely dis­gust­ing. It makes a mock­ery of our ju­di­ciary. That was one of the rea­sons I felt so strongly about op­pos­ing pa­role for Jor­dan’s killers.

“As far as the pa­role board goes, a prece­dent has to be set. I mean, we’re not talk­ing about a stolen cell­phone or car ra­dio here, it is a sa­cred hu­man life.” Pis­to­rius is due to be re­leased into house ar­rest on Au­gust 21 af­ter serv­ing only 10 months in jail for killing his girl­friend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Ver­non re­layed how strangers still stare at them in the street – and of­ten of­fer kind words or hugs. “Be­cause it was such a hor­rific in­ci­dent, it stayed in peo­ple’s minds. I think peo­ple re­ally want to con­vey em­pa­thy, but of­ten they don’t have the words,” he said.

De­spite the joy that Keira has brought Natasha, who helps her fa­ther with his elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness, she is still in ther­apy.

Her health has fal­tered in the anx­ious year lead­ing up to this week’s hear­ing, and she strug­gles to sleep.

“I never even got to see Jor­dan take her first steps,” she said.

Natasha prefers not to com­ment on Ro­drigues, who con­fessed to the mur­der two years ago when she ap­plied to the Supreme Court of Ap­peal for spe­cial leave to ap­peal her life sen­tence. Her ap­peal was de­nied.

“I would rather fo­cus on the fu­ture,” she said.


SLOW TO HEAL past week

Baby Jor­dan-Leigh Nor­ton’s mother, Natasha, and grand­fa­ther Ver­non talk about Jor­dan's killers ap­ply­ing for pa­role this

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.