18/02/2007 22:56 - (SA)
Marisa Phillips, Die Volksblad
Wesselsbron - "I heard my husband gurgling. I couldn't get up because my hands were tied behind my back. I heard him choke to death in his own blood."
This was the horrific description given by Mariana Strydom, wife of former mayor Dr Jan-Andries Strydom, who was murdered at his home on Saturday, on his 82nd birthday.
Strydom, who practised in the Free State town for more than 50 years, was overwhelmed, tied up and assaulted by a robber. He was kicked in the face several times.
The former mayor and town councillor did a lot of work in the black community. Mrs Strydom said he saw only black patients.
"He was on good terms with everyone."
Back door was open
Strydom was recently honoured for his selfless service to the community by the Afrikaans language and cultural association, the ATKV.
Mrs Strydom said she and her husband left his consulting rooms in the town about 11:00. She went to the shops and he went straight home.
"When I got home, the back door was open, but I didn't think it strange, because my husband often left it open for me.
"I put the food in the fridge and walked down the passage.
"At our bedroom, a man with a long knife charged at me."
The man grabbed her and tied her up, cutting her hand in the process.
On the floor in the room was her husband, his hands and feet bound with neckties.
"I told the man that we didn't keep any money in the house. Every time my husband groaned, the man kicked him in the face again."
"He forced me to open the safe, but there was nothing of value for him in there.
"He searched through my husband's pockets and kicked him again. My husband fell on to his back.
Died in his own blood
"The robber took the money in my handbag, gave the handbag back to me and ran off.
"I heard my husband gurgling. I couldn't get up because my hands were tied behind my back. I heard him choke to death in his own blood.
When she succeeded in freeing herself, Strydom was dead.
Superintendent William Mokwena of northern Free State police, said the robber got away with about R900. No one has been arrested yet.