Two Parkwood mothers are battling to come to terms with the death of their newly-wed children who were shot and killed in the early hours of last Wednesday, June 28.
They are now making funeral arrangements for Ashley and Alicia Sauls.
The couple, who lived with Alicia’s mother, Elizabeth Hendricks, in Parkwood, had been celebrating Ashley’s 30th birthday on Tuesday night when they decided to step out to visit friends.
Not long after they left, Ms Hendricks heard gunshots.
She tried to call them on their cellphones but no one answered.
A neighbour came to tell her about a couple who they found on the corner of Abdulla Moosa Walk and Parkwood Avenue, at 2.30am.
Ms Hendricks went outside to see what happened.
“I was not thinking straight, but I remember seeing my children lying on the ground and Ashley had his arm protectively over Alicia’s body.”
Constable Carol Strauss, spokesperson for Grassy Park police, said four suspects, age between 25 and 30, have been arrested in connection with the double murder and appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Friday, June 30. A 9mm Norinco Star firearm was recovered, she said.
Ms Hendricks said Ashley, 30, and Alicia, 27, got married on April 26 and were very happy.
“I’m so glad Ashley came into Alicia’s life after she struggled with drugs, a year ago. She was rehabilitated but relapsed before she met Ashley and when he came into her life, she stopped completely.”
She said Alicia would have started a nursing course on Monday July 3 and Ashley was offered a job from a family member who is a chef in the Navy.
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Ms Hendricks said: “He made her dreams come true as he put a smile on her face and I think they were meant to be together. We will be dressing her in the green dress he loved on her and will be playing their favourite song…I can’t remember the name of the song but in the song is the words ‘kisses on my lips’.”
Although Alicia didn’t have any children, Ashley had an eight year old son, said his mother Theresa Marais.
Ms Marais said it was sad to deal with Ashley’s death as his twin brother, Stanley, was also shot eight months ago on October 10 last year.
“He was in the intensive care unit for two weeks before he died. Ashley told him ‘don’t leave me, we will die together’.”
It is difficult for Ms Marais to come to terms with the death of yet another child. “How do I deal with this? I can’t sleep at night after losing both my lovely children. They were very protective over me and they also used to pick me up playfully. How do I overcome this sadness?
Philip Bam, spokesperson for Grassy Park Community Police Forum (CPF), said they are concerned about the spate of murders in Parkwood over the last few months.
“This killing of a couple in the early hours of the morning is condemned in the strongest possible terms.
“We urge our community to be alert. Our community should be able to move around their suburbs in safety but we realise that ideal cannot be achieved right now. The problem is the guns that are hidden in Parkwood Estate. The community must come forward and report any information they might have on illegal activity and especially drugs and guns in the area. The good people of Parkwood will take back their neighbourhood.
“The cycle of violence must be stopped and we call upon our law enforcement agencies to be more visible and follow up every bit of information. Our condolences to the family and loved one of the deceased.”
Ward councillor William Akim lives near to where the couple were killed and heard eight gunshots fired that night.
He urges the community to stand together
“This killing of our youngsters must be stop and we must find solutions. I went to visit the mothers to give my condolences and sympathy.”
He said words cannot express the hurt and pain these families are feeling. “We as the parents must set the example to know the whereabouts of our children, set house rules and communicate the danger; establish street, block or flat committees and join neighbourhood structures to safe-guard our communities; start working groups, counselling sessions to handle stress and conflict challenges so together we can overcome issues affecting our communities.”
blob There will be a memorial service for Ashley and Alicia at Bethany Church, in Parkwood Avenue, tonight, Wednesday July 5, at 7.30pm.
blob The funeral will be held at St Gerard Catholic Church, in Parkwood, on Saturday July 8, from 8.30am. For more information or if you want to help the families with funeral arrangements, call Ms Marais on 082 416 1046.
blob Captain Sibongile Barker from Provincial detectives can be contacted on 021 467 8251.