It’s a cold, cold world we live in

Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a very interesting time. 

It is one defined by many problems with the global economy, environment and in many other areas of life. 

It is a time also defined by greed for power and money where some people have grown so cold they would do anything to satisfy their greed.

Yesterday, a friend referred me to a story that is sending shockwaves across Australia and around the world. At a time where technological advances have made it super fast to read what’s happening in other parts of the world, the click of a button quickly revealed the nauseating nature of the story.

As Samoans, we take great care for our grandparents and elders. It is just who we are although we are not alone as there are many cultures in the world who do the same. 

Which is why I found the story devastating. Titled “Granddaughter stabs grandfather to death after being shown family photos,” it detailed the last moments of Robert Whitwell’s life before he was brutally murdered by his own flesh and blood. According to the report, Brittney Jade Dwyer, 19, used a knife to fatally stab her grandfather in the neck and chest as part of a horrifying plan to steal his life savings.

According to a report on, Dwyer’s friend Bernadette Burns had waited in the car and applied makeup while Dwyer went inside the house to carry out the plot.

“Mr Whitwell invited the accused [Dwyer] into his home and they looked at photographs and videos of the accused and her brother when they were children,” a case summary stated.

“The accused then sent a text message to Ms Burns saying she could not go through with the plan.”

The summary stated that Burns convinced Dwyer to do it because “they had come all this way”.

“Ms Burns further said that the accused’s mother would know she had been to her grandpa’s and she should just ‘harden up’ and do it,” it stated.

“Five to ten minutes later, [Dwyer] told Mr Whitwell she had to leave.

“As he walked towards the front door, she pulled out the knife she had brought with her and stabbed him in the neck. Mr Whitwell turned around and put his hands on her shoulders.”

“The accused then stabbed him in the chest, and again in the neck.”

Whitwell then asked his granddaughter why she was doing this but she did not respond. The 81-year-old then walked into the kitchen and grabbed a band-aid, which his granddaughter helped put on one of his wounds.

“She washed the dishes while he passed away,” the summary stated.

“The accused then sent a text message to Ms Burns saying ‘it’s done’.”

The documents state that Burns then entered the house wearing gloves and the pair searched for Whitwell’s money.

They took $1000 from his wallet, some coins, two digital cameras - but failed to find more than $110,000 was hidden in his shed. 

His body was discovered three days later and the killers, who have pleaded guilty to murder, were arrested on August 26.

Folks this has got to be one of the most horrifying stories we’ve seen in the recent past. We agree that there are terrible incidents happening in this world all the time but this is something else. 

When a granddaughter goes to see his grandfather, sits there and shares a story or two with him looking at pictures of the family, only to turn around and murder him in cold blood, something tells me there is something awfully wrong with the world today.

Couldn’t she just ask him nicely for some money? If she was really desperate, couldn’t she had just snuck into his bedroom and take off with some money? Seriously, I reckon the grandfather would have easily given her some money.

But to murder him like that? To brutally stab him and then let him die while she was standing there? Was this really necessary? What is this world coming to?

Now this is really what brought tears to this writer’s eyes. 

According to Court documents, Whitwell had asked his granddaughter why she was doing what she did. When she did not respond, the injured 81-year-old then walked into the kitchen and grabbed a band-aid, which his granddaughter helped put on one of his wounds.


Tell me that something like this will never ever happen in Samoa. Please!

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