February 26 2010 at 07:49AM
By Kristen van Schie
At 75, Donovan Smith lived an active life. He woke up at the crack of dawn for gym. He swam 30 laps in the pool each day. He played golf. He loved to bet on the horses. And he always picked up the bill.
But all that came to an end when Smith was found murdered in his home in Dowerglen Extension 2, Bedfordview, on Wednesday afternoon.
“He didn’t deserve this,” said his sister, Joy de Chaud.
“He just loved life, and all that has just been taken away.”
Smith’s body was found after a hawk-eyed neighbour noticed that his car had un-characteristically been left outside overnight. She contacted De Chaud, who immediately began phoning his friends. Nobody had heard from him that day.
A close friend agreed to stop by and see if anything was wrong. He found the gate unlocked, the keys still hanging in the latch, and the front door ajar.
Smith was lying on the floor inside with a single bullet wound to a shoulder. According to paramedics, he had been dead for hours. His car was still outside.
Only his cellphone was missing.
“The only thing we know is that he got home on Tuesday afternoon and parked in front of the garage,” according to police spokeswoman Inspector Roelien Marais.
She said Smith must have been killed sometime on Tuesday night, but added that nobody in the area had seen or heard anything.
“I walked in and saw him lying there with a big hole in his shoulder,” said De Chaud.
“Could he have been saved if somebody had heard the gunshot? He lay there the whole night and was only found the next afternoon. The pain he must have been in…”
De Chaud said her brother had been robbed several times over the past few months. In January last year, he and his housekeeper were tied up, kicked and pistol-whipped by a group of men.
Money and a gun were stolen from the house. De Chaud believes her brother became a soft target because of the previous robberies and his age.
“But this time they meant it. This time they killed him,” she said.
An insurance broker, he still visited clients every day, “And he never showed up empty-handed,” said De Chaud.
She described him as a fun-loving person and a generous friend.
“I’ve had calls from people all day,” she said.
“It’s a sad loss to so many people.”
“I was friends with him for 38 years and we didn’t have a single argument. Not one,” said Rocco de Chaud, Smith’s brother-in-law.
Police said the motive for the murder was still unknown. No bullets or casings were found on the scene and there were no signs of a struggle.
Smith is survived by his two sons and four grandchildren. The family said they were coping with the tragedy by thinking of the good things in their life with him.
“And so many good things have happened.”