By MERVYN NAIDOO
After a night of sipping expensive whisky at a popular Durban casino while in the presence of a female companion, a well-known Durban insurance broker was found dead in his hotel room the next morning.
Andre Gopaul, 49, and his companion, whose identity is known to the newspaper, booked in as guests at the SunSquare Suncoast and Towers Hotel on the city’s beachfront on Monday.
But when Gopaul, a father of two, failed to join his 39-year-old companion for breakfast the next morning, she discovered his body on the bedroom floor.
Paramedics attending the scene confirmed that Gopaul, who lived in Umhlatuzana, Chatsworth, was dead.
Gopaul was cremated at the Stellawood Crematorium on Thursday.
Neo Mboniswa, spokesperson for Tsogo Sun Hotels, confirmed that Gopaul had been a guest at the hotel at the time of his death and conveyed sympathies to his family and friends.
The cause of Gopaul’s death is yet to be confirmed. The Saps provincial spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said their investigations were continuing.
Police have established that the pair booked in at the hotel around midday on Monday, ate lunch and remained in their hotel room.
Later that evening, they proceeded to the hotel’s on-site casino, where Gopaul drank whisky while he gambled.
The apparently highly intoxicated Gopaul was then helped to the hotel room by his companion, where the woman tucked him into bed in his jocks and socks before leaving around 11pm.
She received a phone call from Gopaul, less than an hour later, when he asked whether she had arrived home safely.
A short while later, the woman texted Gopaul to check on his well- being. That was the last interaction between the two.
When the woman phoned Gopaul the next morning, about joining her for breakfast at the hotel, his phone went into voicemail.
She then went to the hotel room to check on him, but her key card did not provide her access.
The woman got the access problem fixed at the hotel’s reception and was then able to enter the room, but found that Gopaul was not in bed. She foun him lying face down on the floor, which prompted her to call for assistance.
His clergyman brother, Clive, declined to be interviewed.
On the day before his brother’s funeral, pastor Clive posted some of his feelings on Facebook:
“My baby brother Andre Gopaul was a loving, caring, kind hearted and compassionate person.
“Heaven has welcomed him.
Pray for his wife and his two children.”
The post drew an outpouring of sympathy and support for the family. Sunday Tribune