Murder most foul

Candice Nolan / Mar 13, 2019

Murder most foul

I am working on a podcast, unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s got all the trappings. Murder. Intrigue. Business wheeling and dealing. Rags to

riches. It begins thus. I am sitting at home with what appears to be a tummy bug. My boss has assigned me to cover what would become known as the “Northcliff murders”. My anxiety kicks in in full force. I would later come to understand that I suffer from gut anxiety. Nevertheless, I’m anxious about this assignment. Mostly, because it would mean intruding on a family in pain. For a scoop.

My tummy lurches again. I run off to the loo. Then I start making enquiries. What we knew at that stage: three family members were kidnapped from their Northcliff home. Three bodies were discovered burnt beyond recognition out near the capital city, Pretoria (about 60km/37 miles outside Johannesburg).

I hadn’t signed up for this. Alas! I needed to find the house first. Eventually, I teased out an address. On the drive there I passed several familiar landmarks. This was too close to home. The house was easy enough to spot, seeing as there were several cop cars pulled up outside. I introduced myself and settled in with the other vultures (vulture) who had landed to feed on this carcass of grief.

I had never seen her before. Had she not introduced herself as a journalist, I would have thought she was one of the cops. She had an easy comradely relationship with the police. They would whisper together behind the tree outside the barrier walls. People in white gowns and face masks were busy inside and outside the house. Some police tape hung limply off the motor gate.

Super sleuth that I am, I decided to get the scoop. One never decides to get a scoop. If one does dabble in such vain pursuits, one almost certainly does not get the scoop. A cheerful face greeted me from behind the counter at the cafe across the road. “Can I help you with anything?”. “Yes,” I offered, “do you have any AAA batteries?” “Certainly!” We start chatting about the kidnapping/robbery the night before.

He mentions CCTV camera footage. I assume (assumption being the mother of invention) that he is talking about the camera’s trained on the driveway behind the imposing gate. Alack. It was footage from the Cafe’s camera’s, which are trained on the driveway of the home.

And then the scoop! The footage shows a white minibus taxi pulling up outside the gate. The vehicle can be seen in the yard for quite some time. Later, this minibus taxi pulls out together with one of the victims vehicles. The domestic worker arrived for her shift the next morning, only to find the house had been ransacked. There was blood in one of the bedrooms.

Someone working out in a field in Centurion, discovers the still smouldering remains of three people. Disbelief. Coincidence? No, it can’t be. The narrative plagues the mind. A family left distraught. Micro-organisms could be the only thing that would speak for the dead. DNA. Yes, it is I.

Of course, I know all this, not because I’m a super sleuth. And certainly not because of my gut instinct. But simply because I ventured a question when the whole press gallery had gone silent. This is no scoop. It is much much more. And it is less. Because the answer leaves one decidedly sceptical. Intriguingly doubtful. Supplanted by this murder most foul.


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