Norma Worsley, 72, was strangled in her Rondebosch home two years ago, shortly after taking her spaniel Purdy for her daily walk.
The Mowbray police handled the case, but four successive investigating officers failed to track down the killer.
Worsley’s children hired a Cape Town security firm which also does criminal investigations, but they also made no headway. Then, seven months after their mom’s murder, the family contacted a private investigation firm from East London, Christian Botha Investigations (CBI).
Botha and his colleague, Frans Molokomme, arrived in Cape Town on March 16. Three days later a man was arrested for Worsley’s murder. Vusumzi Rini, 23, of Khayelitsha, is on trial in the Wynberg Regional Court on charges of murder, aggravated robbery and rape. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
On Thursday the case was postponed until February.
“Without CBI, we would never have known what probably happened,” said Sandra Kruger, one of Worsley’s three children. “The other investigators told us they had nothing to work with and the case was cold.”
The last policeman to investigate the murder, Warrant Officer Andre Kleynhans, was dealing with 132 case dockets at the time, which Kruger believes was one of the reasons he was unable to give Worsley’s murder the attention it deserved.
If Rini is convicted, the Worsley family will have spent about R200 000 to get justice.
“Even at this stage, we have to pay for the truth,” said Kruger, referring to the fact that the family has hired a legal firm from Cape Town, William Booth attorneys, to assist in prosecuting Rini.
Kruger said she, her sister Lynn Salzwedel and brother Russell Worsley decided that if they needed to pay to see justice done, they would.
“We had the feeling that the case was seen as nothing, as just another murder. But to us our mother was so special. I loved my mother and I couldn’t have wished for a better mom.”
In 2000, Kruger’s husband of 16 years, Johan, was murdered in a hijacking in Joburg. Four years later Kruger and her daughter, Nicola, moved to Cape Town for a better quality of life and to be closer to her mom.
“I can’t put it into words… everybody I loved seemed to be taken from me. People are murdered and they vanish.” Kruger said her mom was “kind and loyal. She contributed to life. She was fun. I spoke to her for at least 20 minutes every day. We also saw lots of her”.
Worsley had lived in her Rondebosch home for 30 years. She loved walking Purdy, gardening and sewing for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
The Sunday before she was murdered, Worsley accompanied Kruger and Nicola, then 11, to Fish Hoek, where they had lunch and a walk along the beach. “She loved spending time with Nicola, reading her books. She also liked cooking for her.”
The day before the murder, Worsley joined Kruger at a swim therapy session for Kruger’s dog in the morning. Later, she held Bible study with friends. It was her son’s birthday and she called to wish him well.
“Then she called me to remind me to call my brother. That was the last time I heard her voice,” said Kruger.
The next day Heather Mackie, Worsley’s best friend from the age of six, arrived to fetch her for tea and found her body on the floor. The murderer had fled with Worsley’s cellphone, two diamond rings and a few hundred rand.
Today, Kruger takes care of Purdy and still walks on the beach with the spaniel and Nicola, and wishes her mom was alive to share these moments. She said she wondered why the killer hadn’t covered his face “with a balaclava or something” when he attacked her mom. “Maybe then he wouldn’t have had to kill her because she wouldn’t have been able to identify him.”
At a restaurant outside the Wynberg Regional Court this week, Kruger hugged Botha, who drove down from East London to testify. She welcomed him to Cape Town before they sat down for tea and coffee. “He’s really passionate about his work. It (the arrest) happened so quickly after they started working on the case. We’re extremely grateful.”
Botha said the case was one of two murder cases in which CBI had made an arrest last year, and he hoped they had helped the family find a sense of closure. Botha thanked Kleynhans for his assistance. “He did his best under the circumstances and gave his full co-operation.”