Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Man murdered in 'Fort Knox'

April 19 2007 at 03:58PM

By Mirand Andrew and Sapa

A mere 10 centimetres was all that separated Sam Wyer from his killer in a house that a friend had described as "Fort Knox".

Surrounded by a wall nearly 2-metres high, two dogs in the garden and burglar bars and gates around the Amanzimtoti house, Wyer and his wife Frankie, who were watching television, had no reason to feel threatened.

But moments after they had watched the last ball in the Proteas' emphatic win against England being bowled on Tuesday night, he was shot dead and his wife had scrambled over plants and a 2-metres fence to get help.

'He was cheering South Africa and the next thing he's dead'

It was too late. By the time the police, family and friends had arrived at the Adams Road property, Wyer was dead. He had been shot in the head and the heart.

Wyer's son-in-law, Shannon Beaton, said the 55-year-old father of three had been watching the cricket in the lounge while Frankie had been watching another programme in the TV room when the tragedy had struck.

Beaton was first to get the emergency call from Frankie.

"I could just hear something was wrong," Beaton said. A distraught Frankie told him shots had been fired.

Beaton, who is married to Wyer's daughter, Tamin, was at the house within minutes, but by then the Wyer house was swarming with police.

"He was cheering South Africa and the next thing he's dead," said a distressed Beaton.

Frankie Wyer was too shocked to talk to the press and was being comforted by friends and family at Beaton's house

Initial investigations have revealed that the gunman climbed over a garden wall and then scaled a wrought iron gate up to the Wyers' bedroom window. The gunman managed to squeeze himself through a gap of about 10 centimetres between the wall and the burglar bars.

He helped himself to Frankie Wyer's jewellery and a bag.

Beaton said Frankie had told the family Wyer had confronted the burglar and shouted to her to get out of the house.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said there were powder burns on Wyer's chest indicating he had been shot at close range.

Mickey Sadler, who grew up with Wyer, said: "He was a really down-to-earth, practically minded person. He was totally dedicated to his family. He died saving his wife."

Botha, also a personal friend of Wyer, said: "Just the other day I was telling him that his place (house) was like Fort Knox."

Wyer was a well-known businessman in Amanzimtoti and belonged to several community organisations. He was also known for his lifesaving skills and participated in several paddle and canoe challenges.

Police spokesperson Inspector Michael Read said the Organised Crime Unit was investigating the murder. "No arrests have been made, but police are following up on leads," he said.

This article was originally published on page 2 of Daily News on April 19, 2007


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