Even though detectives have to emotionally detach themselves from gruesome crime scenes and horrific murders, what drives Warrant Officer Shaun Bardien to catch criminals is the fact that the victims could be his daughter, brother or sister – or his father.
And with this in mind, Warrant Officer Bardien from Cape Town Central police station managed to track down the two suspects – a man and a woman in connection with the killing of former Naspers financial director, Eric Wiese.
Mr Wiese, 81, was found dead by his wife after a robbery on Friday August 4, at his Trek Road home in Higgovale (“Murder rocks Higgovale,” Atlantic Sun, August 10).
He had been beaten to death and several items were missing from his property.
Warrant Officer Bardien said on the morning of August 4, he had been attending to a case in De Waterkant, and while he was out, he was called to the house robbery in Trek Road.
“I received this call but I didnt know it was a murder yet. When I got to the scene, they told me they found a body of a male tied up in the house and items were stolen from the house.”
He said he and the forensics team worked through the night trying to gather evidence from the scene.
“The next day, Saturday, we traced the deceased’s cellphone, one of the items stolen, to Gugulethu.”
He said when a signal is traced you are given a radius in which the cellphone can be located.
“We went to check at a number of addresses, but at first we were unsuccessful, because we didn’t find the signal, which means the cellphone was moving around.”
Warrant Officer Bardien said he spent the rest of the week in Gugulethu, speaking to people and knocking on doors, trying to track down the cellphone or the suspects with the help of crime intelligence and Gugulethu SAPS.
“After a few days, the forensic team said that they had lifted positive fingerprints from the crime scene – one of which was a woman’s, and the other a man’s. We managed to track down the woman’s grandmother, who told us that she had been kicked out for stealing and doing terrible things, so from there we knew we found a lead.”
But the big break came on Friday, when the woman was spotted in Gugulethu with two other men – one of whose fingerprints had also been lifted at the crime scene. “We went through and made the arrest.”
The case has since been handed over to the provincial police for further investigation.
The Atlantic Sun tried to get the names of the suspects, who have already appeared in court, however, the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) were tight-lipped.
Mr Wiese’s widow, Sannie, said she doesn’t feel anything regarding the suspects. “I’m dead where that is concerned, because it was a senseless, useless act. What’s a few thousand rands and a couple of cellphones for a man’s life? They took rubbish, except for five valuable pieces. And he was 80 years old. They could’ve tied him up and ransacked the house for two hours and escaped, and he wouldn’t have been able to do anything.”
However, she said, she was very happy with the way that the police and Warrant Officer Bardien handled the case.
“When the police came, they were so efficient. They were friendly and they did their work. Warrant Officer Bardien was wonderful. He was here 24/7 – I don’t even know when he got to sleep. The investigation was so thorough. Everything he had to answer to was answered.”
Warrant Officer Bardien said he was solely focused on catching the suspects.
“I spent little time at home – I would just have a meal at home and then go back to work. I came into the office to check all the dockets, and go over information to check if there was something I missed. I just wanted to apprehend the suspects.”
What also drove Warrant Officer Bardien was the fact that his father had died a month ago. “I lost my father, but I didn’t lose him in the way they lost their father.”
Cape Town Central community police forum (CPF) chairwoman,
Nicola Jowell, said she had nothing but praise for the way that the police conducted the case.
“It shows what can be done and if we had sufficient resources should be done on each and every case. Warrant Officer Bardien is most certainly one of the top detectives at Cape Town Central. He has previously been the recipient of the CPF Police Officer of the month, a well deserved award given his dedication, high success rate and strong work rate.
She said while the suspects were caught in connection with Mr Wiese’s killing, the shock it sent through the community won’t subside. “I think that the bubble of our community has been popped. We have violent crime and we have terrible house robberies, but for a victim to lose their life is something that has not been seen in our area.”
Ms Wiese said after the funeral, two of her children had gone back to work abroad, and her son would stay with her for a while.
“The worst part is that my children don’t want me to live in this house. I want to stay because we wanted to live here for years still. We thought it was safe. We’ve added more safety measures, but my children will never rest if I’m living here alone. These people (the suspects) don’t realise the impact they have on people’s lives. Not just mine, but everyone’s lives around me is turned upside down because of something they didn’t think through for two seconds.