Barbara Haines, the 34-year-old mother of two who was fatally shot.
On Sunday evening, the still night was disturbed by gunfire and screams in an alleged murder-suicide in Fanpalm Gardens which has rocked the community of Phoenix.
Following a domestic dispute, Zain ul Aberdeen Smith allegedly fatally shot his wife, Barbara Emmadla Haines, before turning the gun on himself.
The act was committed in the presence of the couple’s seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old son.
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A neighbour who heard the screams and gunfire contacted Phoenix SAPS and a local security company. When they arrived, the body of a woman was found lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen in an outbuilding.
She had sustained a gunshot wound to the head. The body of her husband was found in the passage. He had also sustained a gun shot wound to the head.
Lt Col Thulani Zwane, provincial spokesman, said, “A case of murder and an inquest docket has been opened at the Phoenix police station. The circumstances surrounding the murders are under investigation. A 9mm pistol was found next to the bodies. The firearm will be taken for ballistics testing to check if it is the same one used in the shooting.”
Communications officer of Phoenix SAPS, Cpt Louise Naidoo said, “It is alleged by a witness that he arrived at the house of the deceased as there was a domestic dispute. He found a child in the rain crying and the gate to the house was locked. The deceased had a firearm in his hand and allegedly stated that he was fed up with the domestic issues with his wife. The witness tried to talk to the deceased to open the gate and hand over the firearm. Suddenly, the deceased fired one shot at his wife’s head and then fired on himself.”
Fellow Fanpalm residents have been left shocked by the incident.
They described the family as always loving and said that Smith was a man who was always smiling. A neighbour who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “They were a nice family, loving to their children. I heard them arguing but I never thought it would lead to their deaths.”
The incident also caused a public outcry for the children on social media.
Phoenix resident, Reshma Bhugwandeen Singh, posted on Facebook, “I was standing at the scene on Sunday night with other CPF and security members from around Phoenix. It was really sad, as a mother myself, all I could feel was pain for the children as they have lost both parents. My sincere condolences to the bereaved families and my prayers are with the children.”
Cpt Naidoo said, “Relatives were at the scene when the incident took place. The two children are still with the relatives. Arrangements have been made for counselling.”
The 34-year-old Haines was employed at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital since 2010 as a professional nurse in the mental health care unit after graduating with a nursing diploma in 2009.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health paid tribute to her.
In a media statement KZN MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said, “It is with great sadness and shock to report the untimely death of Sister Haines, one of our professional nurses at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital.”
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“We urge once more that there should be a better way to handle domestic disputes without causing harm and eventually killing a partner. We are really saddened by this great loss of such a dedicated hard-working nurse in one of our own facilities. We pray and ask for the family to be supported through prayers,” Dhlomo said.
The chairman of the KZN Men’s Forum also urged men to protect their families and to handle disagreements in a proper manner.
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