01/03/2007 09:16 - (SA)
Elise Tempelhoff, Beeld
Vereeniging - The niece of a well-known florist who was murdered on Tuesday night died of a heart attack shortly after hearing the news of his death.
Daleen Kruger, 53, died in Midvaal Hospital only a few hours after hearing that Willie Slabbert, 58, had been murdered in his home on the farm Zomerlust.
According to her sister, Hettie Venter, Kruger had reacted "very badly" to the news of the murder. Her husband, Japie, gave her a tranquiliser, but had to rush her to hospital when she collapsed.
"We are a very close-knit family and Willie grew up with us.
"My sister's death is a direct result of Willie's murder," Venter said on Wednesday.
She said her brother, Theuns de Lange, 49, became a quadriplegic after he was shot in the neck and back during a hijacking in Qwa-Qwa in 1999.
Slabbert had been well-known as a florist in the area for more than twenty years. He organised weddings and other functions on his farm outside the city.
Charmaine Humphrey, one of Slabbert's neighbours, said the "senseless" murder of somebody with a good heart, had shocked the community.
She said friends of Slabbert, who wanted to have a function in his hall, found his body.
Humphrey said she and her husband, Ray, then rushed to Slabbert's house and found his bloodied body on the kitchen floor.
"It was terrible. His head was covered in blood."
Slabbert, who lived alone on the farm, was apparently hit over the head with a hammer and repeatedly stabbed with a knife. His was still wearing his watch and his glasses and cellphone were found next to him.
Slabbert's children, Hennie Slabbert and Jani Barnard, searched for documents at his flower shop, Mr Florist, in Voortrekker Road on Wednesday. They phoned his clients to cancel appointments and orders.
Police spokesperson inspector Trudie Wilken said robbers fled in Slabbert's Bantam bakkie. The police later found the bakkie, which had been overturned, between Vereeniging and Meyerton.