Monday, 10 July 2006

'Please don't shoot me'

10/07/2006 07:49 - (SA)
Buks Viljoen, Beeld

Leslie - "Please don't shoot me. Take my cellphone," a 10-year-old pleaded with an attacker who had shot dead an elderly relative in front of her on a farm outside Leslie.

Police have arrested a man in connection with the death of 72-year-old Sylvia Barkhuizen at the weekend.

She was shot dead in front of the child, on Kruisement farm outside Leslie in Mpumalanga on Friday night.

Barkhuizen apparently was shot dead with her son's firearm, stolen from his home earlier that day.

André Barkhuizen, who farmed Kruisement with his mother, said: "This is very, very difficult."

Shot her twice

He said his mother took several farm workers to town on Friday afternoon to do shopping, and she returned shortly afterwards.

Minutes after she and the child, who had been visiting her since Wednesday, got out of the bakkie, they were attacked by the man.

He apparently dragged Barkhuizen to the back of the bakkie and shot her twice - in the head and the stomach and she died within seconds.

The killer grabbed the shocked child and threw her on to Barkhuizen's body.

André Barkhuizen said: "The murderer searched through her pockets and just walked away."

He apparently saw the girl picking up her cellphone and dialling a number to contact her father in Brits.

The girl's father, who may not be identified to protect her, said: "I heard her yelling that Mrs Barkhuizen had been shot and, all of a sudden, everything was quiet."

The girl pleaded with the attacker: "Please don't shoot me. Take my cellphone," when he lunged at her while she was talking on it. He grabbed the cellphone and ran away.

The girl's father immediately contacted André Barkhuizen, who was on holiday in Durban. He dialled his mother's cellphone number.

When the girl heard the cellphone ringing, she apparently had to lift up the body to reach the cellphone.

André Barkhuizen said: "I told her to look for the keys to the vehicle.

"She found the keys and I told her to get in and lock all the doors and not to open them for anyone."

Arrested man had a pistol

Two of Barkhuizen's neighbours found the blood-smeared girl cowering in the bakkie.

Captain Manie van Zyl, commander of the unit against serious crime in Middelburg, has confirmed that they've arrested a man near Leandra.

They found a pistol, allegedly the gun used in the attack, as well as jewellery, in his possession.

Barkhuizen said several relatives of the arrested man had worked on the farm for years.


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