Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Couple killed on wife's birthday

Marie van der Westhuizen and her husband Schalk, who were found stabbed in their home in Kleinmond. (Die Burger)

Ema Buffel, Die Burger

Kleinmond - The bodies of an elderly couple were found - each with numerous stab wounds - in their home on Monday morning, the day after the woman had celebrated her 73rd birthday.

Robbery seems to be the motive for the murders of Schalk van der Westhuizen, 78, a wooden-toy maker, and his wife Marie, who made baked goods for a home industry store.

Several of their belongings, including a laptop, two cellphones and a video machine, are missing.

It is suspected that the couple were attacked on the night of Maria's birthday.

Her birthday cake and some tea cups were still standing in the kitchen when a neighbour found their bodies in their 9th Avenue home at about 09:00.

Body covered by blanket

The couple's faces and bodies had been repeatedly stabbed with a sharp object. The lights and the television were still on.

Schalk's body was found in the pantry and his wife's in the lounge, covered by a blanket.

The neighbour, George Sutter, went to investigate when the couple did not respond to their daughter's phone calls.

"The house was plundered and various household appliances were stolen," said provincial police spokesperson Superintendent André Traut.

The sliding door at the back of the house was open.

"No one has been arrested yet. We suspect the attack took place on Sunday night because Marie was last seen at about 17:30."

Charming couple

Neighbours told on Monday how charming the couple were. One mentioned how the wife took snacks to her children every week. "They were lovely people. That they had to spend their last hour like this."

Sutter's wife Sonja said the couple had first lived in Kus Road but had moved to their current address a few years ago. "They had an alarm and security gates. They were well-known, dear old people who were involved in their community."

They are survived by four children, Herman van der Westhuizen, 53, from Namibia, Amanda Ellis, 49, of Somerset West, Maryna van der Westhuizen, 48, of Durbanville and Elsabe Strauss of Namibia, 43.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2369910,00.html

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