El­der­ly re­si­dent’s mur­der le­a­ves com­mu­ni­ty in shock

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

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GRAAFF-REINET — The c­lo­se-knit com­mu­ni­ty of Graaff-reinet is in shock t­his week af­ter the cal­lous and bru­tal mur­der of an el­der­ly re­si­dent in the e­ar­ly hours of last F­ri­day mor­ning, Sep­tem­ber 29.

Con­rad S­pin­gies and his wi­fe Pa­tri­cia, who suf­fers from a de­ge­ne­ra­ti­ve il­l­ness and is blind, li­ved qui­et­ly at their ho­me on the cor­ner of Park S­treet and Cra­dock S­treet for ma­ny y­e­ars. The cou­ple mo­ved to Graaff-reinet c­lo­se to 40 y­e­ars ago, af­ter which Mr S­pin­gies taug­ht at the old Graaff-reinet Te­a­cher Trai­ning Col­le­ge, pas­sing on his lo­ve of En­g­lish to ma­ny young pe­op­le.

In mo­re re­cent y­e­ars, he would of­ten be seen on the streets of Graaff-reinet, pus­hing his wi­fe in her w­heel­chair, and greet­ing their f­riends. He was al­so a ta­len­ted mu­si­ci­an and was the re­gu­lar or­ga­nist at the Cat­ho­lic Church in Graaff-reinet for o­ver 30 y­e­ars.

T­his pe­a­ce­ful re­ti­re­ment in a qui­et coun­try town was shat­te­red last F­ri­day.

Ac­cor­ding to the in­ves­ti­ga­ting of­fi­cer, War­rant Of­fi­cer Pa­trick Samson, Mrs S­pin­gies’ ca­re­gi­ver ar­ri­ved at the hou­se as u­su­al at 09:00 on F­ri­day mor­ning.

W­hen no­bo­dy ans­we­red the door, she pee­red through the win­dows and im­me­di­a­te­ly re­a­li­sed that so­mething was wrong, as the­re we­re no bre­ak­fast dis­hes on the ta­ble, and the pho­ne was off the hook. She ran to a neig­hbour, who cal­led the po­li­ce.

W­hen the po­li­ce ar­ri­ved, they found that a win­dow pa­ne had been bro­ken in the kit­chen. It ap­pea­red that the in­tru­der or in­tru­ders had en­te­red the hou­se whi­le the cou­ple was sleep­ing, pro­ba­bly in the e­ar­ly hours of the mor­ning. T­hurs­day 5 Oc­to­ber, 2017 Mr S­pin­gies’ bo­dy was found on the floor of the be­droom, in a pool of b­lood. It la­ter trans­pi­red that he had nu­me­rous stab wounds to his bo­dy.

Mrs S­pin­gies thank­ful­ly was not in­ju­red phy­si­cal­ly but was ta­ken to Mid­land Hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lan­ce, w­he­re she was tre­a­ted for shock and ad­mit­ted. She has sin­ce been dis­char­ged from hos­pi­tal and is in ca­re, w­he­re she can rest and not be dis­tur­bed.

Two of the S­pin­gies’ daug­h­ters, with so­me of their fa­mi­lies, tra­vel­led to Graaff-reinet as soon as pos­si­ble to be with their mot­her. One of the daug­h­ters, un­for­tu­na­te­ly, can­not be he­re at t­his ti­me due to an il­l­ness.

They ha­ve been staying at the ho­me of fa­mi­ly f­riends, and ha­ve been dee­ply com­for­ted by the show of sup­port from the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty, in­clu­ding ma­ny com­ple­te stran­gers. Me­als and flo­wers ha­ve been drop­ped off at their tem­po­ra­ry ho­me, and a friend pos­ted on Fa­ce­book that “they ha­ve felt so bles­sed and so gra­te­ful, and cer­tain­ly feel the lo­ve and sup­port they are re­cei­ving from e­ver­yo­ne in the com­mu­ni­ty”.

The in­stant com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on of so­ci­al me­dia and e­mails has ho­we­ver been a cau­se of so­me un­ne­ces­sa­ry grief for the fa­mi­ly, as unsub­stan­ti­a­ted rumours ha­ve been pos­ted and prin­ted wit­hout thoug­ht to the de­va­sta­ting ef­fect t­his has had on fa­mi­ly and f­riends who are far from the sce­ne and ha­ve pic­ked up t­his “u­nof­fi­ci­al” news on­li­ne.

Despi­te con­stant as­su­ran­ces from the po­li­ce and c­lo­se fa­mi­ly f­riends that Mrs S­pin­gies was not har­med in the at­tack, ma­ny har­ro­wing ta­les we­re re­coun­ted of her “in­ju­ries” and e­ven that she had pas­sed a­way.

An up­da­te on the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on in­to Mr S­pin­gies’ mur­der was gi­ven to the Graaff-reinet Ad­ver­ti­ser on Wed­nes­day mor­ning, Oc­to­ber 4. It ap­pears at t­his sta­ge that on­ly so­me cash may ha­ve been ta­ken from the re­si­den­ce, alt­hough t­his has not yet been fi­na­li­sed.

The po­li­ce are acti­ve­ly fol­lo­wing up on se­ver­al le­ads and, ac­cor­ding to the in­ves­ti­ga­ting of­fi­cer, they ho­pe to ha­ve mo­re in­for­ma­ti­on a­vai­la­ble e­ar­ly next week.

A­nyo­ne with in­for­ma­ti­on that may be re­le­vant to the ca­se is as­ked to con­tact W/O Samson ur­gent­ly on 073 084 9067.

In a sta­te­ment is­su­ed on be­half of the fa­mi­ly, daug­h­ter Gi­se­la wro­te “We are gra­te­ful for the sym­pathy ex­pres­sed from all o­ver South A­fri­ca and beyond. The­re is no doubt that our fat­her tou­ched a gre­at ma­ny li­ves. We ask that the me­dia and the pu­blic gi­ve our fa­mi­ly the pri­va­cy to al­low the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on to pro­ceed and ti­me to grie­ve in pri­va­te”.

A me­mo­ri­al mass will be held for Con­rad S­pin­gies at the Im­ma­cu­la­te Con­cep­ti­on Cat­ho­lic Church on Tu­es­day, Oc­to­ber 10, at 11:00.

With the help of their at­tor­neys, his daug­h­ters ha­ve set up a trust ac­count for the on­going ca­re of their mot­her, Pat. They ha­ve as­ked that in l­ieu of flo­wers, do­na­ti­ons be ma­de to­wards her ca­re. The ac­count is De­rek Lig­ht At­tor­neys at FNB, 12 Church S­treet, Graaff-reinet, branch co­de 210216. The ac­count num­ber is 52300015065 (swift co­de FIRNZAJJ), with re­fe­ren­ce S722 es­sen­ti­al.

He was de­ar­ly lo­ved and will be so­re­ly mis­sed by his wi­fe Pat, daug­h­ters Gra­nia, Gun­da and Gi­se­la, and gran­d­child­ren, as well as his f­riends.

The po­li­ce cor­do­ned off the hou­se on F­ri­day mor­ning.

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