A six-year-old boy was going to bake some biscuits with his mother this past weekend and take some next door to the kindly old woman who had helped to look after him since he was a baby. But the person who stabbed 83-year-old Willemina Keneur in the forehead last Tuesday denied him that opportunity.
Ms Keneur’s grandson, who lived with her, found her lying in her own blood on the kitchen floor of her Herbrand Street home in Hazendal on Tuesday afternoon June 21. Neighbours had called him to check on his grandmother after they noticed her washing was still on the line by late afternoon.
Her family were too distraught to speak to the Athlone News.
The day after the murder, the road was quiet and a large chain and lock secured the front gate.
Samantha Adams lives opposite the house. She is a first-aid instructor and had known Ms Keneur for about seven years. On Tuesday, one of the neighbours called her to check the elderly woman’s pulse.
“When I arrived at the scene, she was lying on the kitchen floor in blood. I checked for a pulse, but there was nothing. I said she’s gone, there’s nothing I can do.”
She described Ms Keneur as someone who had always worked in the garden, cleaned her house regularly and was often seen washing her windows.
“She looked after my son when he was still in nappies. We often baked cake and sent it to her. This weekend, my son planned on baking and taking her some biscuits. I just told him that she died due to old age.
“Everyone is terrified about what has happened. I don’t know what to feel. It was a defenceless woman, it’s not right. It puts everyone at risk now. People have been phoning me to ask if it is true.”
Athlone police believe it is a robbery gone wrong. They say Ms Keneur’s neighbours spotted a man and a woman walking down the street with plastic bags filled with goods. Athlone police spokesman Sergeant Zita Norman said Ms Keneur’s grandson had noticed several things missing from the house, including a laptop, Play Station, video games, clothing and women’s shoes.
“SAPS members of Athlone attended to the scene and the deceased’s grandson pointed out his grandmother’s body lying in the kitchen. The back door was open and the deceased suffered a stab wound to the forehead and was certified dead on the scene,” said Sergeant Norman.
Station commander Colonel Clive Nicholas said police had arrested a suspect and the investigation was continuing.
Athlone Community Police Forum chairwoman Aziza Kannemeyer said the community was angry about what had happened.
“This is woman who was very well known in the area. She apparently had backyard dwellers but they didn’t see anything. Goods were stolen and police will be looking out for what people are trying to sell,” she said.
Another resident, who did not want to be named, described Ms Keneur as very nice woman who didn’t look for trouble.
“She would work in the garden and later walk to her sister or her friend. She was just an old woman. They didn’t have the right to kill her. It doesn’t make sense. Whoever killed her was cruel to kill her like that. I was very upset about it; she wasn’t one to bother other people. I always saw boys jumping over the wall to the backyard dwellers when she went to the shop, and they would leave when she returned,” she said.