13/07/2006 22:41 - (SA)
Carla Mouton, Beeld
Swartruggens - A North West woman has told how armed men attacked and tortured her family, pouring boiling hot water on her husband and slashing open his forehead - afterwards strangling him using a shoelace.
"It feels unreal. I won't ever be able to return home."
Daleen Pieters, 33 and her husband, Frans, 44, were attacked in their home on their smallholding just outside Swartruggens while her children, Gideon, 10 and Anuscka, 3, watched.
Pieters, a mineworker, had a prosthetic leg.
Daleen Pieters said: "They kicked open the front door at 21:15 while I was watching television. My husband and children were asleep. The robbers immediately attacked me with a knife."
'I don't know if they stabbed him'
They cut her leg to the bone in two places, went to fetch her husband and children and tied up all of them in the television room.
"They melted a plastic bag and dripped the melting plastic on my son. They battered his nose and his eye is black and blue. They hit my little girl once."
She said one of the men pushed the barrel of a 9mm pistol into her mouth and blindfolded and gagged all of them.
"They tortured my husband first before they killed him. I don't know if they also stabbed him."
The men tortured the family from just after 21:00 until 01:00.
The three attackers left after ransacking the home.
Peters managed to free herself and her children, ran to the neighbours and contacted the police.
They were treated in the local hospital and are staying with her sister-in-law on a farm in the area for the time being.
"My body is sore and covered with bruises. My little girl doesn't understand what's happened. I'll have to get psychological counselling for my son," she said.
Another 12-year-old son was not at home during the attack.
Captain Elsabé Augoustides said the attackers stole a television set and a DVD valued at R2 800.
Three men shortly afterwards tried to break open the front door of Johan Labuschagne, who lives about one kilometre from the Pieterses' smallholding.
"Labuschagne woke up and contacted a neighbour who telephoned the police,"said Augoustides.
They arrived shortly afterwards and arrested a 19-year-old.
Pieters has identified the man as one of the three who attacked the family.
Augoustides said police are investigating the possibility that the two attacks could be linked.
The youth is expected to appear in the Swartruggens magistrate's court on Friday.