Thursday, 5 April 2007

Father, son die in AK-47 attack

05/04/2007 08:00 - (SA)

Borrie la Grange, Beeld

Johannesburg - George Helmand, 57, and his son Ryno, 23, usually arrived at work at their Brakpan, East Rand scrapyard at 06:00 to buy scrap metal from early morning clients.

On Wednesday morning robbers were waiting for them, with a bag of scrap metal - and an assault rifle.

Minutes later, six shots rang out from an AK-47 assault rifle and father and son lay dead a few metres from each other outside their workplace, BG scrap metals in Hoy Street.

Their family was shattered. "I just want to tell him one more that I love him. What am I going to tell our (four-year-old) son Rynhard, if he asks where his daddy is? And his grandpa George was his whole world," Ryno's young wife Gerda Helmand sobbed on Wednesday.

Robbers car seen before

The three robbers arrived in a metallic light blue Nissan Skyline and pretended to have a bag of scrap to sell, before two opened fire on the Helmands without warning.

The robbers got away with a briefcase containing a few thousand rand, but took neither the father nor his son's firearms.

A witness, who was too afraid to have his name published, said he had seen the Skyline at the scrap dealer before.

"They must have been here before to sell scrap," the man said.

"Ryno went with his dad to the shop every morning to make sure he was all right, before he went on to their other branch. They were inseparable," Gerda explained.

On Wednesday morning, Helmand snr stopped behind his son's bakkie shortly before the robbers arrived.

Damage to the bodywork of the bakkies and a wall show how the robbers let rip at close range.

"My brother phoned me. He said Ryno and my father-in-law were dead. There was nothing anyone could do."

"The past weekend we all (the family) visited Vrede and this weekend we would have gone to the Drakensberg.

"We did everything together," Gerda said, while her mother-in-law Veronica and her sister-in-law Jenisé,19, cried inconsolably.

Kobus Pienaar, a member of the family, said the double-death on one day would be unbelievably difficult for the family to bear.

"Why did they have to be taken from us so cruelly? They were full of spark, generous and strong people," said Veronica, who had been married to George for 32 years.

Pier Bergh, one of the owners of BG Scrap Metals, said the industry was dangerous because a lot of cash changed hands every day.


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