Patricia “Trish” Vause Taylor (64) who owned Threeways Getaway in Rosetta, KwaZulu Natal and Cecilia “Kiki” Dion (70), a foreigner from Canada, were watching TV when two balaclava-clad gunmen entered at the other end of the house through the bathroom window and crept down the passage, past the kitchen and into the lounge. Kiki and
Patricia “Trish” Vause Taylor (64) who owned Threeways Getaway in Rosetta, KwaZulu Natal and Cecilia “Kiki” Dion (70), a foreigner from Canada, were watching TV when two balaclava-clad gunmen entered at the other end of the house through the bathroom window and crept down the passage, past the kitchen and into the lounge. Kiki and Trish had become housemates and close friends in the period of five years since Kiki had moved to Threeways.
Totally taken by surprise at 20:00 when the suspect’s appeared, holding a gun to Kiki’s head, all Trish managed to say was “hey” when one of the gunmen shot her once in the chest and she fell over in the lounge where they had been sitting. Kiki was then gagged, bound and left for dead.
On interviewing Kiki, it was so evident that the ordeal had cut her to the core and was devastated by the death of her much-loved friend. Kiki mentioned over and over how they were caught completely unawares and how fast the shooting happened.
“I just saw the men come up to us. The one-man came to me pointing a firearm against my head and said, we want money, we want jewellery, we want guns. I put up my hands immediately and said okay. They pulled me up and started tying me. At the same time, they went to Trish and she just looked at the guy and said ‘hey’. That was it. He just shot at her at close range through her breast. I could not believe it.”
Kiki recounts that she kept asking herself why she was still alive, and why they had not tried to kill her as well. She kept wondering why this was happening.
“I thought I was next and started praying”, she said. Kiki described how terrified she was and the horror of being gagged with a cloth and her hands and feet tied with a piece of wire before being dragged into the bedroom where repeated attempts were made to suffocate her with pillows and duvets. Once the suspects thought she was dead, the duo toppled the king-size bed over her. She kept thinking the criminals would return, so she remained in the dark room for 15 minutes.
Kiki and Trish are both dedicated Christians. Kiki managed to draw strength from this and at the same time it saved her life. “I almost suffocated. I kept praying, please Lord, please Jesus, cover me. The one-man was angry and kept pushing the pillow on my face while the other one told him to leave me alone, that I am a gogo”. “I prayed to the Lord Jesus to free me while pushing the piece of cloth with my tongue while untying my hands and ankles”.
The assailants then left her and ransacked Trish’s room, taking out the safe and fleeing with it as well as two TVs. Kiki recounts that she lay on the bed for a while and when she heard them leaving with the car, she managed to get off the bed and raise the alarm by about 9.30 pm. “I managed to free my hands from the wire. I could not believe that Trish was dead. I quickly sent a message to my husband in Zambia and got a call through to neighbours and police”. Kiki sustained bruises to her wrists and swollen ankles.
Threeways Getaway B&B had been on the market for the past three years. Kiki said that Trish had put the guest house up for sale because maintaining the place had become costly. Together they had plans of travelling overseas someday after selling the guest lodge.
There were two guests, municipal bodyguards, staying at the guesthouse, a mere five metres away from Trish’s house at the time of the incident. The guests said they slept through the incident and had to be notified of what had occurred when the police arrived. They said they didn’t hear a thing, said a source.
There have also been discussions as to why only the two televisions, safe and car were taken. There was so much more they could have taken. Everything else was untouched making it difficult to understand why someone would kill a person and then take the least amount of things.
The vehicle was found abandoned in a soccer field near the Mooi River SPCA on Tuesday morning.
Family and Staff
Husband – Derrick Taylor (61)
Derrick who lives with their eldest son Jason on the Bluff in Durban described his wife’s murder as senseless. He said his wife would have turned 65 in May. The couple had been married for almost three decades.
Son – Jason (28)
Jason said they received a frantic call from Kiki’s husband in Zambia at 23:00, informing them of what had happened.
Jason and his dad raced up to the farm getting there at 01.30 am. “It was the worst sight that could have greeted us. No one deserves to die in this manner, least of all our mother, who was the kindest and most generous person,” said Jason. He said their family were shocked by the incident and overwhelmed with the violence. Why did they have to kill her? It’s senseless. They could have taken what they wanted without causing them any harm. These were two defenceless women. My mom was a church-going person who was well-known and loved in the community.”
Grateful that he had spent time with his mother the week before the murder when she visited him in Durban for his birthday; and on Sunday when he visited her, Jason said the farm and the guesthouse were his mother’s dream come true. We grew up in the area and mum wanted to live there in her old age. She bought the farm in 2007 and recently developed the guesthouse that had just started doing well.
This place was a haven – a sanctuary for us. It’s just so unbelievable!
Youngest Son – Andrew Neilson
Andrew who works at a game reserve in Mpumalanga, said their mother was a strong and resilient woman who kept the family together during hardships.
Daughter – Taryn Newport
Taryn said she was not convinced that her mother’s death was motivated by robbery for assets. The thieves only took TV sets but left behind laptops and mobile phones before driving away in her mother’s Sports Utility Vehicle. This was later found abandoned in a football field near Mooi River SPCA on Tuesday, 25 February 2020.
Taryn felt very strongly that it was a ‘hit’ organised by someone known to her mother.
“I don’t think it was a robbery. Had it been a farm attack, both ladies would have been dead, which gives me the idea that it was a premeditated murder, because one pointed a gun at my mum’s friend, while my mum could not even say more than ‘hey’ and they shot her in the chest”, said Taryn.
She said her mom’s ashes would be scattered on the river at Threeways overlooking Giant’s Castle, in the southern Drakensberg Mountains.
“Mum had a beautiful spot on the bank of the river. It was therapeutic to her. Whenever she was stressed, she would visit the sacred spot,” she said.
Staff – Thoko Mavis Dlamini (40)
Thoko, a staff member at the guest house, said she had a strong bond with Trish.
“I lost a friend and a mother. She often lent me money, and when I paid it back, she would say, no keep it. That was her natural kindness. She was very decent.
“She did not deserve to die like this. I confided in her about everything, from marriage problems to kids at school. She offered me counselling when I was going through a divorce,” sobbed Thoko.