A volunteer and a former in-patient at a Cape Town drug rehabilitation facility has been charged in connection with the robbery and murder of a nurse who was much-loved by his community for always going the extra mile.
Gregory Paulse was found stabbed to death and covered with a towel at his home in The Conifers, Blue Downs, on February 6 this year.
His house was left in disarray with cupboards hanging open, electronic items and television missing, and blood on one of his windows.
According to News24’s sister publication, City Vision, 55-year-old Paulse was well-known within his community for helping the grieving families of patients raise money for funerals, buying food for them out of his own pocket, and visiting areas some would consider too dangerous to help people.
He was nominated with nine other nurses for the 2016 Western Cape Cecilia Makiwane Nurse’s Recognition Award and although he did not win, he said at the time: “When someone comes back to thank me, I know that I have done something good.”
On February 6, his neighbour noticed his door was open and the police were called.
He had been stabbed and died as a result of his injuries.
Prosecutor Nathan Adriaanse said his car, a white Hyundai, was also missing and the police had put out an alert for officers to keep an eye out for it.
Two sharp-eyed officers spotted it in Woodstock. They backed off and parked around a corner waiting for back-up, but when their colleagues arrived the car was gone.
They picked up the trail again in the Cape Town CBD and the two accused were arrested in Buitengracht Street, with some of Paulse’s stolen items packed in the back.
They were told to get out and lie on the ground. The first accused, Randall Abrahams, explained he had found the car in a parking lot with its keys still in the ignition and decided to take it for a drive.
His passenger, Stephen Solomons, said Abrahams had picked him up at a friend’s house in the car on February 5 and they had just driven around.
However, the court heard both had left The Ark rehabilitation centre within hours of each other.
They were remembered as being very close friends at the centre, and Solomons had been a long-time volunteer, having been taken in by Paulse at first for help.
He, however, left on February 4, and the next day Abrahams, who had been in for treatment since November 2018, was expelled from The Ark for throwing a tea cup at a facilitator.
The court heard both intended pleading not guilty to the charges against them.
Abrahams faces a charge of murder as a result of robbery. The court heard because there was no evidence to link Solomons to the murder, he faced a charge of being an accessory after the fact to robbery.
Abrahams was allegedly found with tik on him and Solomon with mandrax.
Both promised they were off drugs and would abide by any conditions the court set for them if they were granted bail.
However, the court heard the detectives’ investigation so far found that Solomons sold Paulse’s smart TV for R2,052 at Cash Crusaders, using his real ID. He was also seen on CCTV at the shop.
The two had also “gone on a spending spree” and booked themselves into two hotels in Sea Point.
Paulse’s cards were found in the cistern of one of their hotel rooms.
The police also found Paulse’s phone, but with a different cover on, and his son’s PlayStation 2.
The court heard Solomons had matriculated and received a bursary from Golden Arrow Bus Service for his first year of study toward becoming a teacher, and then for his second year he was funded by Nsfas.
Unable to get funding for his third year, he had to drop out. He had been injured in the interim and was awarded R1,500 per month in damages from which he lives on.
Abrahams said he needed to be granted bail because he had to support his three children and look after his sick mother.
Adriaanse said DNA swabs were taken, as well as fingerprints and the police also found Paulse’s Gino Paoli shoes in their possession.
He urged the court to not grant them bail, saying the community had loved Paulse, and that releasing them would shake people’s faith in the justice system.
The case was postponed to October 1 for argument ahead of the decision to grant them bail.