12 May 2017
Homeowner attacked and killed by unknown suspects
ALMOST a year after he moved into his dream house in Bulwer with his family, Michael Kernick’s burnt body was found in the passage of the home on Wednesday.
Kernick (64), described as “the greatest father a girl could ask for” by his daughter Phia, was attacked by unknown suspects while he was at home alone.
While the series of events leading up to his death and the motive for his murder are unclear, Kernick’s wife, Rosmarie, and daughter, Phia, are trying as best as they can to accept living without the man who “made everything better”.
“My mom has lost the love of her life,” said Phia in an interview with The Witness yesterday. She said her mother was trying her best to cope, but the murder had taken away the love of her life a few months before they were set to celebrate their 30th year anniversary.
“This is such a shock to us,” said Phia. “My parents moved to Bulwer just under a year ago. It was my dad’s dream to live there. He loved the country. Every morning he would make himself some tea and he would go out and sit on the veranda drinking it while looking out over the dam.”
Phia described her father as an “amazing dad” who was always ready to help with any problem she or her mother had. “He made life better. He was kindhearted and was so welcoming to all.
“He was loved by many. This has all been so traumatic for us.
“He was the light in our lives and I hope the people who did this are found so nobody else has to go through this.
“I would not want anyone to go through this trauma and pain,” she added.
Phia said she and her mother had received a lot of support and love from family and friends and she thanked everyone who had been sending messages of support and prayers.
She said her father’s funeral was planned for next week, but the details had not been finalised.
Berg Protection Service was reportedly the first at the scene on Wednesday afternoon, and released a Facebook statement saying that when they arrived, a fire had been set at the homestead.
The statement said Berg Protection, along with local farmers, worked together to extinguish the blaze, confining it to a small section of the house.
Magma Security head Shaheen Sulieman, who was also at the scene, said it was one of the worst crime scenes he had seen in 17 years.
He said the entire house had been ransacked and that Kernick’s body had been badly burned.
He said it is believed that the incident occurred at around 5 pm on Wednesday.
Sulieman added that Kernick’s wife had come home and found blood on the door but did not go inside, and had instead called emergency services.
Last month, an entire family, including an elderly woman and children, were robbed by seven men at their farm in the Umshwati district.
The month before, Thornville farmer Edwin Mapstone (53) was killed when he was stabbed and shot during a robbery on his farm.
There have been 10 farm attacks and three farm murders in KZN this year.
KZN police spokesperson LieutenantColonel Thulani Zwane said a case of murder was opened at Bulwer police station.
“The motive of his killing is unknown and it is not clear whether anything was taken,” said Zwane.
“No arrests have been made.”