April 24 2008 at 08:31AM
By Thandi Skade
He lay in his bed, hands and feet bound with a tie, the duvet cover pulled over his body exposing only his shoulders, a swollen forehead and dried blood around his mouth.
His small cottage on a 4,5-hectare plot in Honeydew, north-west of Joburg, a place he had called home and where he had lived peacefully for eight years, had been transformed into a murder scene.
The gate on the fence that protected his home stood wide open; the security gate on the back door had been tampered with and forcefully unlocked, and the door left ajar.
Personal papers had been rummaged through and discarded in his office. His bedroom had been turned upside down - drawers were ripped out and lay on the floor. Items of clothing not stolen were left scattered on the ground.
The new DVD player he had received as a Christmas present, his cellphone, radio and money from his wallet were gone.
This is the scene Silas Mokadi stumbled across on Wednesday morning after he found his employer, garden services veteran Tony Goddard, 78, dead.
"I arrived at work at 8.15am and knocked on the front door a few times, but there was no answer. I saw that the gate was open, so I went around the house and noticed that the security gate was also open and so was the door," Mokadi said.
He started to worry when several calls to Goddard went unanswered, so he entered the house to investigate and was devastated by what he found - the murder of not only his employer of 16 years but someone he considered a friend.
"I'm feeling very bad because Tony was a nice person and he looked after me well," he said.
Hillary Minnaar, owner of the plot and a close family friend, said they were shattered by the senseless murder.
"He was the kindest, dearest gentleman in the whole world. To think that he sold his big house to move in here with us to be safe, and then he gets murdered here, is unbearable," she said.
The Minnaar family still question how the perpetrators managed to gain access to their property without tripping the electric fence alarm, forced their way into Goddard's cottage and escaped without anyone hearing a thing.
Honeydew police spokesperson Inspector Karen Jacobs confirmed that Goddard's cellphone, radio and DVD player had been stolen and said police suspect suffocation as the cause of death.
She said a case of murder and armed robbery had been opened and urged anyone with information to call the investigating officer on 079-889-6578.
This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on April 24, 2008