Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Tied to dead husband for 19hrs

19/10/2005 23:01 - (SA)

Sarie van Niekerk, Beeld

Nigel - A former farm worker has been arrested in connection with the murder of a 90-year-old farmer, whose wife lay tied to his dead body for nearly 19 hours.

A domestic worker found the injured, traumatised Judith Martinson, 87, at about 14:00 on Tuesday.

She was tied to the body of her dead husband in a bedroom in their house on the Hallgate smallholdings.

Mrs Martinson was admitted to Suikerbosrand Hospital in Heidelberg with multiple injuries, none of them serious.

Her hip, which had been hurt in a fall at their home six weeks ago, had been injured again.

She would not be returning to the smallholding, but planned to move in with her only daughter, Estie, after being released from hospital on Thursday.

Martinson, whose hands and feet were tied with telephone cables and a belt, had plastic and a sheet wrapped around his bloodied head.

Heard calls for help

He apparently died as a result of a severe assault with a blunt object, particularly to the head.

His wife's hands and feet were also tied before she was tied to her husband's body with more telephone cables and sheets.

The domestic worker, who usually came in on a Tuesday afternoon, heard Mrs Martinson calling for help when she arrived.

She peeped through a window and saw her tied-up employer. She ran to the neighbours, who called police and the neighbourhood watch.

A police reservist climbed through a window to untie the couple.

Captain "JP" Botha, a member of the unit against serious and violent crime, earlier said on Tuesday afternoon that some of the family's belongings - a microwave oven, jewellery, crockery and other appliances - had been picked up outside the house.

A safe containing a number of firearms was untouched.