Mandeni residents have been left stunned and grieving after a popular local businessman was killed in his home on Monday night, reports North Coast Courier.
56-year-old Arnold Watkins had spent the day at the beach with friends, spreading his father’s ashes on the south bank of the Tugela River on what would have been his dad’s birthday.
“We left the beach in the late afternoon and went to Arnold’s house. We left Arnold there at around 6pm,” said Andre van Rooyen.
Van Rooyen said he received messages from Watkins at around 9pm, so at that time he was still alright.
“This morning (Tuesday) one of his employees went to his home and saw the door standing open. She was too scared to enter, so she called me. When I went in, I found him lying there.”
At some point during the night, Watkins had been attacked. He had managed to get his gun out and it appeared that a struggle ensued during which he was shot with his own gun.
“There was definitely a scuffle and at least three shots were fired that I could see, one of which hit Arnold in his chest. He died there on the floor.”
Watkins’ mother recently moved out from his home due to safety concerns after a break-in several weeks ago.
“We cannot live under siege like this.”
He said there had been multiple attacks against elderly people in Mandeni over the last few months.
“Eventually, we as the people of Mandeni are going to start fighting back.”
DA Mandeni councillor Kathleen Naidoo said the town was shaken to its core by the murder.
“Arnold was a longtime resident of Mandeni. He was a very good man who never troubled anyone and was always willing to lend a helping hand. I just cannot understand how someone could do such a thing.”
Watkins was the owner of Skyton Recycling in Mandeni. He is survived by three children who now live in Australia.