Friday, 12 January 2007

Be vigilant, security company urges

12/01/2007 10:11 - (SA)

Christel Raubenheimer, Beeld

Pretoria - In yet another violent attack on a Pretoria family in their home, a 47-year-old man was fatally shot and his wife wounded as robbers opened fire on them.

Dirk van Sittert, 47 was shot dead and his wife Adri, 45, wounded after robbers attcked the couple as they watched TV in their Maitland Street house in Lyttelton Manor.

The body of Martie Breet, a broker from Kilnerpark and friend of Mrs Van Sittert, was found wrapped in a duvet in her house last week.

She was apparently strangled and robbed of a few possessions.

Armed attackers entered the Van Sittert's house at about 22:00 on Wednesday while the couple was watching television. Their daughter, Jani, 18, was asleep in her bedroom.

The police woke her up after the attack.

The attackers shot both in the upper body.

Victim shot twice

The couple's son, Barry, 21, said the robbers gained entry through an open back door. They didn't demand anything and shot Mr Van Sittert twice when he jumped up.

Mrs Van Sittert, also a broker, was also shot in the upper body when she stood up. After the attack she called the police and was rushed to Unitas Hospital.

She was in a stable condition in the intensive care unit on Thursday.

Her husband, a project manager at Spoornet, died at the house.

The robbers fled with a few items, including a wallet, handbag and cellphone.

"It's a terrible thing that happened. I cannot sleep - I don't want to sleep. They were watching television when two men entered and killed my son," said Barry van Sittert, Dirk's father.

A few hours after the attack, police were still searching for clues in the house in the quiet, tree-lined street.

Jani and Barry were staying with friends in the meanwhile.

Four murders since New Year's Eve

Criminals earlier on Wednesday night also tried to burgle two other houses in the suburb.

The attack on the family was one of several others in homes and gardens in Pretoria in the past few months during which residents were terrorised, murdered or mutilated.

The series of attacks on people at home at night forced the security company ADT a few weeks ago to send an SMS to clients warning them to keep their windows and doors locked and to activate their alarms.

Most of the incidents took place between 20:00 and 00:00, stated the SMS.

At least four people have been murdered in their homes in Pretoria since New Year's Eve.


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