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


'Not a crime to rob whites'

23/04/2007 16:05 - (SA)

Walter ka Nkosi

Nelspruit - A man accused of robbing a woman of R30 000 outside a bank claims police have arrested the wrong man.

Patrick Lucky Malinga, 25, of Msogwaba appeared in Nelspruit magistrate's court on Friday on charges of robbing a woman of her handbag, which contained R30 000, outside Absa bank in the city centre.

Sergeant Michael Lusiba testified that when he took Malinga to the police station, Malinga said he deserved to be let off because he had not robbed a poor black person, but a rich white woman.

"He told me this was a free country and he didn't deserve to go to jail for robbing a white person, only a black person," he said.

Malinga has pleaded not guilty to theft.

Malinga has testified that he was withdrawing money from an ATM when he saw a man running past him and drop something that looked like a handbag.

Malinga said he was surprised when private security guards came to arrest him and handed him over to the police.

"Your worship, I swear that the guards and the police arrested the wrong man because I am innocent enough to be let free," he said.

Magistrate Vanessa Joubert postponed the case to May 25 for further evidence.

Malinga was remanded because he has failed to raise R2 000 bail.


Monday, 23 April 2007

Girl on scooter traps thieves

20/04/2007 20:22 - (SA)

Port Elizabeth - A petite Eastern Cape girl cornered two burglars with her scooter this week, attacking one with her crash helmet, reported The Herald Online on Friday.

Marilee Hibbers, 18, of Despatch said on Thursday she never thought of the danger she could have been in.

Her only goal was to get the two criminals arrested.

The two men, aged 26 and 27, apparently broke into a house in Protea Street about 14:00 on Wednesday.

When the owner of the house saw them, she shouted and the men ran out.

Hibbers said: "We heard someone scream and we saw two guys jumping over the fence, and a man was chasing them.

"I thought well, I have a scooter, I can chase them faster. I just put on my helmet and went after them."

Two houses away, Hibbers saw one of the men lying in the garden, hiding.

"There was a woman in that yard who saw him and threatened to shoot him if he got up, so I went and told police who were driving around nearby" she said.

After he was arrested, Hibbers and a small boy noticed the second man, also hiding in the garden.

"When he saw us, he stood up and ran. I rode after him and told him to stop. He stopped briefly once and threatened to kick me, but I told him I wasn't scared of him. I just continued chasing him," said Hibbers.

She eventually cut in front of him with her scooter and the man fell to the ground.

"I got on him and hit him with my helmet on the arm. I don't regret hitting him because he said he would kick me."

Two men arrived to help her and the man was arrested.


'We'll kill all you white dogs'

22/04/2007 22:50 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler, Beeld

Pretoria - "They told us: 'We're still going to kill all you white dogs.'," said an elderly couple who were throttled, bound and robbed in their Pretoria North flat.

Fanie Coetzee, 76, and his wife, Bekkie, 73, were getting ready for coffee about 06:45 on Friday when two intruders who had broken into the complex attacked them.

Speaking from Eugene Marais Hospital on Sunday morning, they described how they were attacked and threatened in their flat in General Beyers Street.

Bekkie was preparing Fanie's coffee when a man grabbed her by the throat from behind.

"He throttled me and just said 'Money, money'.

Kicked in their private parts

"I said we were pensioners and didn't have much money, but what there was they could have."

She said the robbers took R500 from her husband and R25 from her purse.

"Then they kicked and beat us. Oh! it was terrible. My back is black and my husband's throat is purple. My throat also feels raw."

"They kicked me once in my private parts and my husband was kicked there three times.

"The short one dragged me down the passage to the bedroom by my hair and tied me to the bed with my gown.

"I begged and pleaded, but he just wouldn't listen. One hit me so hard in the face that I went all dizzy."

Coetzee said he fought back hard: "Every time I saw a face, I hit it."

"When he grabbed one of our knives and wanted to stab me, I hit his wrist so hard that the knife fell out of his hand."

His attacker grabbed a table cloth, bound it round his neck and twisted it twice.

"Then he dragged me to the bedroom through the splinters of the glass pot that had been on the table and tied me hand and foot to the washbasin with a sheet."

He thinks the attackers took fright when they heard his neighbour getting his car out of the garage.

"I wriggled free and untied my wife before we phoned the neighbours. A policeman who lives across the road, telephoned the police," he said.

The intruders are thought to have gained access by jumping over the gate of the complex and entering through the door to the veranda, which was open.

Inspector Paul Ramaloko confirmed that the attack had been reported.


Mother weeps for 'gentle' son

Ingrid Oellermann

April 23 2007 at 09:12AM

If a hijack gang had asked for his car, "good samaritan" Lyle Andrew Stephen, 28, would probably have given it to them, the victim's mother told the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday.

One of the perpetrators who was convicted on Friday, Fana Khenisa, 26, of KwaNyuswa near Hillcrest, will be sentenced on Monday.

Weeping bitterly, the victim's mother, Aileen Stephen, told Acting Judge Jerome Mnguni that she and her family were living "shattered" lives in the wake of the hijacking and murder of her only son, Lyle, on February 9, last year.

She said she had observed changes in her three daughters, who used to be "outgoing" young people but who now spoke of leaving the country.

Above all, she and her family were trying hard "not to hate" the perpetrators, she said. Stephen addressed Khenisa: "I hope that what you have done will be with you for the rest of your life."

She described Lyle as a "free spirit" who had made no demands on his parents and was "gentle and harmless".

"If they (the hijackers) had just asked him for his car that day, he would probably have given it to them... He has seen people walking at the side of the road barefoot and stopped and taken off his shoes and given them to them... That's the sort of person he was," she said.

Stephen was shot dead while transporting food parcels to an orphanage in KwaNyuswa near Hillcrest, together with a friend, Justin Roberts.

His mother said that Lyle had been fond of children and had tried to assist local communities.

Earlier, Acting Judge Mnguni rejected Khenisa's evidence that he had been spurred on by shock at the murder and by fear of his co-perpetrator, Nico Zikahle, to participate in the robbery and to help remove Stephen and Roberts from their Daihatsu Charade before driving off with the vehicle.

Mnguni said that by his own admission, Khenisa had never been threatened by Zikhale.

He said that Roberts had testified that there had been four attackers, all of whom had worked together.

The judge said there was "not the slightest doubt" that Khenisa had been present when the murder and robbery had been perpetrated, and that he had formed a common purpose with the other attackers and had associated himself with their conduct. The judge found that Khenisa had been a "willing and active participant".

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on April 23, 2007


Electrician found murdered

April 21 2007 at 08:54AM

Cape Town - The body of a murdered electrician, Clifford Selfe, 50, was found on Friday lying in a back room of his premises at Salt River, Cape Town police said. Superintendent Billy Jones said Selfe's wife and colleagues had found his body.

His hands and feet were bound with electrical cord, and his death had been caused by head wounds. A blunt metal object thought to be the murder weapon was found on the scene. Selfe was last seen by colleagues at about 6pm on Thursday when they left work.

His vehicle, a white Toyota Stallion bakkie with registration number CA424-762 and the name Brent's Electrical in red on the sides, was missing. Power tools and Selfe's cellphone were also missing.

Woodstock police were investigating murder and robbery.

Anyone with information that might help the police should contact their local police station or Crime Stop on 08600-10111, Jones said. - Sapa


Honouring a killer?

April 21 2007 at 10:10AM

By Fiona Gounden

Durban residents, businesses and political parties are outraged over 174 proposed name changes, which include a main road in Amanzimtoti being named after a man who planted a bomb that killed five people in the town in 1985.

Another major change that has drawn fierce criticism is the eThekwini Municipality being renamed Kwakhangela Municipality.

The notice to change the names of roads was tabled twice this week at Executive Committee meetings, but political parties like the Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and Minority Front (MF) are furious because they weren't shown the full list of the proposed names but were still asked to comment.


The proposed renaming of Kingsway Road in Amanzimtoti to "Andrew Zondo Road" has incensed family members who lost loved ones in the bombing of the Sanlam Centre shopping mall.

Zondo, 19, was sentenced to death by hanging on September 9 1986 for planting a bomb in a rubbish bin at the centre on December 23 1985. Two women and three children were killed.

One of the women who died was Irma Bencini, who was 48. Her stepdaughter Debbie Scott, 49, of Amanzimtoti is infuriated at the name change.

"I remember that day when we were all excitedly preparing for Christmas. I went to the then OK Bazaar near Sanlam Centre and my stepmother said she needed to go into the nearby supermarket. Within a few minutes I heard a loud bang and realised she was in danger. I rushed to the scene and found her body. She died instantly.

"My dad Mario has never been the same since then and that incident will forever haunt us. Surely Zondo knew that planting a bomb in a supermarket was going to kill innocent people.

"Kingsway Road is a main road in Amanzimtoti and I cannot for the life of me believe it would be renamed after such a dangerous criminal who caused so much heartache to the people of the community. My brother is also shocked and angry at this name change."

Another woman who died in the blast was 43-year-old Anna Shearer. Her stepdaughter, Priscilla Shearer, 51, of Doonside, was tearful as she relived the horrible ordeal.

"What happened to my stepmother was terrible and I cannot bear to imagine Kingsway Road being renamed after such a vicious man. I live in Doonside and travel on Kingsway Road often. It's really a travesty that the council would even consider this. There are many people in Amanzimtoti who remember this bombing and the pain it caused. They will never accept this."

The list also proposes that Kensington Road (Drive?) be renamed after Fidel Castro and Musgrave Road be changed to Walter Sisulu Road.

Davenport Road is to be named Helen Joseph Road and Botanic Gardens Road will be called Steve Biko Road.

Chris Hani

Blair Atholl Road will be changed to Rodgers Sishi Road and Nicholson Road will be renamed ZK Mathews Road. Other roads that will be affected are West Street (suggested: Emakheni, Dr Pixley KaSeme, Archie Gumede and Chris Hani); Smith Street (suggested: Ma Adelaide Tambo, Anton Lembede, Moses Mabhida); Brickhill Road to Sylvester Ntuli Road, Moore Road to Che Guvara (sic) and Clarence Road to Rick Turner Road.

Major highways to be changed include Jan Smuts Highway (suggested: King Cetshwayo and Dennis Hurley), Higginson Highway (suggested: Dr Monty Naicker and Yasser Arafat) and Phoenix Highway (suggested: Mahatma Gandhi). Phoenix is to be renamed Mahatma Gandhi Township.

Political parties have demanded to be shown this list. According to DA caucus leader in council John Steenhuisen, the entire process is flawed

"They expected us to pass something that we haven't even seen. This was discussed in Exco earlier and we have told them the procedure is an absolute disgrace as political parties have not been shown the list. To add to this there are two roads named after the same person like Grey Street and Musgrave Road named after Walter Sisulu. The ANC is obviously abusing its majority in council and it is really a sad day for democracy. Surely renaming the eThekwini Municipality is a major step that needs to be discussed."

IFP Exco member Gladwin Ndlela said they will not let these name changes go ahead, especially the renaming of the Mangosuthu Highway to Griffiths Mxenge Highway.

"Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi has done so much for … Umlazi and its progression to where it is now. We will not let this significant name be changed without a fight," he said.

"They obviously have something to hide because they are fully aware that when we see this list we will have objections to idiotic suggestions like renaming a road after Fidel Castro. To add insult to injury they want to rename Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu to Dumisani Makhaye Stadium. This stadium was significantly named after Chief Buthelezi's mother. He is a respected and revered individual who cannot be treated like this."

Minority Front Exco member Jayraj Paris Singh said the ANC has carried out the entire process in a clandestine manner. "If areas like Phoenix and the Higginson Highway in Chatsworth are going to be changed, then the people must have a say."

Municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe said: "We have given the public a chance to air their views and tell us what they think about these name changes … We just hope the process goes smoothly."

Meanwhile, business owners that may be affected are angered - Carlos Dacruz, owner of Mugg and Bean on Musgrave Road, said it was unacceptable: "Sisulu can have a road renamed after him in Johannesburg, not in Durban where he did nothing."

Nel Mthshumi, manager of Euforia Emporium on Davenport Road, said the new name would never suit the environment.

"Davenport Road has become famous and quite trendy with its little stores and vibey atmosphere. People have even started calling it the Davenport District. We will contest this to make sure that our colourful district does not become Helen Joseph District."

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Independent on Saturday on April 21, 2007


Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Attackers gouge farmer to death

16/04/2007 23:11 - (SA)

Marietie Louw-Carstens, Beeld

Louis Trichardt - Shortly after a Limpopo farmer who lived alone shouted for help on her CB radio, she was stabbed to death with a garden fork, and her body tossed into an empty water tank.

The attackers appear to have first used the same fork to kill her boerbull dog. A remaining fox terrier was barely able to walk.

The gruesome murder of Susan Bristow, 54, has shocked the community to the core.

The Bristow family have been farming here for many years.

Tobie van den Heever, chairperson of the Witvlag farm-watch called it "a very, very cruel murder".

"We're all terribly shocked," he said.

Sunday lunch with brother

It was the first attack this year on a farm in the Louis Trichardt region.

Police superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi of the Vhembe region in Limpopo said nothing had been stolen during the attack on the farm, which is about 8km north of the town on the road to Musina.

Gavin Bristow, her brother, said Susan had lived on the farm for about 30 years. "She was a bit scared, but she chose to live there alone."

He said his sister had had lunch with them on Sunday afternoon, on his farm south of the town.

"We think the attackers were probably waiting for her when she returned home that evening."

Bristow said an unknown number of attackers had rushed at his sister when she stopped on the property in her bakkie.

Frans Heinlein of the farm-watch was the first at the scene of the murder.

Boerbull covered in blood

"Susan shouted 'help' on her portable CB radio just after 19:00.

"Three minutes later, there was another cry for help, but this time it sounded muffled," said Heinlein.

A large number of farm-watch members rushed to her farm to help, but they were too late.

Her boerbull dog's carcass was found on the property, covered in blood. The fox terrier could hardly walk when Heinlein and other farm-watch arrived at the farm.

Farm-watch members found her body in the empty water tank about 30m from the house. Heinlein said a plastic bag had been wrapped around her head.

CB radio in pool of blood

"Her face was covered in blood and hardly recognisable. Her head had been deeply gouged by the fork and her back also was gouged."

Heinlein said a garden fork had been found in the farmyard, with Bristow's hair on it.

"The portable CB radio she had used to call for help was lying next to her bakkie in a pool of blood."

Mushavhanamadi said nobody had been arrested yet.


Monday, 16 April 2007

Shots, blood flows - for cell

15/04/2007 23:13 - (SA)

Borrie la Grange, Beeld

Krugersdorp - A 13-year-old West Rand girl may lose her right leg after robbers shot her and a friend and stabbed another teen in the face with a broken bottle - just for a cellphone.

The girl, Cherish Köhne, was shot in both legs.

Her friend Phillip van der Linde, 15, also was shot twice.

They underwent operations on Sunday to repair the worst of the damage inflicted by the bullets.

Mark Carstens, also 15, had to have more than 10 stitches in his face and is badly traumatised. He's recovering at home.

The three were sitting with friends on the grass pavement outside the home of Billow Erasmus, in Impala Road, Mindalore, Krugersdorp, about 20:30 on Saturday night.

Bullet through artery

Mark said on Sunday: "We were chatting when four men approached. They wanted a cellphone.

"The next moment, someone had tripped me up and hit me, and they shot Cherish and Phillip.

Erasmus heard shots, and shouted to the children to lie down.

Erasmus said: "Cherish couldn't get up. They shot her again, while I fell flat next to her."

One of the bullets ripped through the artery in Cherish's right thigh and the other went through her left thigh.

Philip was hit in the chest and the knee.

His father, also Phillip, said his son was just getting up when he felt a pistol against his head.

"If he had not bent down to get his cellphone, they would have shot him in the head."

While the robbers were running away with Phillip's cellphone, they came across another group of teenagers in Valley Street. They charged at them, firing seven bullets in the process.

A neighbour, Mary Roets, said one of the boys had jumped from his bike and fallen flat on the ground, narrowly escaping a bullet in the head. The robbers also missed hitting his two friends.

Had to have second operation

Shortly afterwards, the police arrived and began to search for the gang with a helicopter.

Cherish, Phillip and Mark are all pupils at Bastion High School.

According to Cliff Matthee, Cherish's stepfather, doctors at Leratong Hospital said the chance of recovery for her right leg was less than 50%.

She underwent a second operation on Sunday afternoon to remove blood clots from the arteries in her leg.

Matthee said: "They went berserk. Why were they shooting at innocent children?

"What kind of world are we living in when your child survives (an attack), goes back to school and says to friends, 'Check my bullet wounds'?"

Erasmus said that on his way home in his tow truck, he'd seen the gang shortly beforehand, drinking beer on the street corner.

Thankful son is alive

Shocked neighbours had gathered outside the Erasmus house, while Cherish and Philip were in ICU units at Leratong and Johannesburg hospitals.

Phillip's dad said: "Why didn't they just take the cellphone and be done with it?

"Naturally, one is shocked, but you also get hardened to all the crime. I'm just thankful my child is alive."

Police spokesperson Simphiwe Ndlovu confirmed the shooting in Impala Street and said Krugersdorp police were trying to track down the robbers.


Hijackers kill doc's son, dream

15/04/2007 23:13 - (SA)

Liela Magnus, Beeld

Pretoria - The dream of a Pretoria surgeon that his son would one day take over his practice has been shattered, after the young man was killed in what appears to have been a botched hijacking.

Marnus Venter, 22, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pretoria was shot several times in the chest in the garage of their home at Eldoraigne, Centurion, on Saturday morning.

Dr Jan Venter, an orthopaedic surgeon at Unitas Hospital in Centurion said although no one knew exactly what had happened in the garage, the logical conclusion was that it had been a botched hijacking.

Totally devastated

It appears that when Marnus came back from a wedding after midnight, the attackers slipped into the garage behind him and jumped him inside.

His emotional father said: "It's the first time we've been victims of crime. We are totally devastated. It was my dream that he would one day take over my practice."

His other son, Jannes, is an engineer and research lecturer at the university, and his daughter, Marike, is a first-year architecture student there.

The neighbour's son arrived home shortly after the incident and saw that the Venters' garage door was open.

He went to investigate and found Marnus's body.

Venter said: "We didn't hear the shots at all. The first I knew that something was wrong was when the neighbour's son came to wake us up."

A police forensic bag covering a blood trail and various bunches of flowers lay in front of the garage on Sunday afternoon.

Marnus's mother, Helmie, said friends and people who knew her son had placed flowers in front of the garage.

"He treated life with gentleness and respect, and he was hyper-considerate. You could see his unbelievably dry sense of humour in his face.

"One of his friends said Marnus was the only person they knew who blushed so easily," she said.

Venter said it was a comfort to them that their son was religious. "We hope his death will touch someone and bring change."

Police empathy helped family

Marnus was a talented musician who played classical guitar. His father said his son played mostly in church.

Venter said the professionalism of the police and their empathy had helped the family a great deal.

At this stage, the funeral service for Marnus is scheduled for Wednesday at the Eldoraigne NG Church. The burial will be finalised when the post-mortem has been done.


Saturday, 14 April 2007

Boy shot in house robbery

April 13 2007 at 05:44PM

A 15-year-old boy was shot and wounded after he defied two armed men who stormed into his parents' home in Secunda, Mpumalanga police said on Friday.

Superintendent Abie Khoabane said the two men intruded while Adriaan Hartman's family was watching TV on Thursday night.

"They ordered everyone to remain seated but when Adriaan stood up, they shot him."

The men then fled the scene without taking anything from the house. police were searching for them, he said.

The boy was still recovering in a local hospital.

- Sapa


Varty: Five jailed for farmer's murder

April 13 2007 at 07:31PM

Five men were jailed for life on Friday for the murder of Greytown farmer David Varty, shot dead in March 2003 when he fought a gang who assaulted, tied up and robbed his father and two of their staff.

One of the men who attacked the Vartys, Lungiseni Mchunu, was on bail at the time despite being accused of the murder and aggravated robbery of Pietermaritzburg liquor merchant De Wet Joubert.

He was also accused of the murder of Sandile Jili, a member of the robber gang who was shot dead during the attack on Joubert's business.

Mchunu was given two life sentences for the murder of Joubert and Jili in 2005 and two more on Friday for the murder of David Varty and the aggravated robbery of David, 39, his father Barry and staff members Bhatomu Gasa and Busisiwe Lembethe.

Judge Jan Combrink said that Mchunu's conduct in taking part in the Varty robbery and murder made a mockery of the trust courts showed when releasing accused on bail.

The court had released him trusting that he would stand trial (for the Joubert murder) yet he took part in the Varty attack.

"Had you not been granted bail (for the Joubert murder and robbery) you would not have taken part in the Varty robbery and murder."

He ordered that these remarks be sent to the magistrate who released Mchunu on bail. Combrink also imposed a life sentence for the Varty robbery.

He ordered that the men serve at least 25 years before they are released on parole. The other men are Andreas Simelane, 39, Thembinkosi Dlomo, 29, Thandukwazi Nyembe, 48, all of Pietermaritzburg, and Sphamandla Sibiya, 38, of Nkandla.

Combrink said that notwithstanding the fact that he wanted Mchunu (who now has been given four life sentences) should never see the outside of a prison again, he would be free in 25 years. "That is the unfortunate result of bureaucratic decision-making in the administration of justice. The correctional services authorities in their wisdom, or lack of it, have decided that he could apply for parole after serving a period."

The law is that all sentences are served concurrently with a life sentence.

He said that for the murder of Jili, the law was that where a person takes part in an armed robbery (such as Mchunu) and subjectively foresees resistance and possible injury or death but recklessly proceeds with the robbery and someone is killed as Jili was (a co-robber of Mchunu) then he (Mchunu) was guilty of Jili's murder.

Mchunu got a life sentence for Jili's murder at the same time as getting life for Joubert's murder.

The judge said: "You reconnoitred the farm and invaded it gain, spending the whole night on the farm, invading the Varty house early in the morning. This conduct shows your obdurate tenacity to rob. The way in which you treated Lembethe and Gasa and the attack upon Barry Varty indicate a callousness that can never be pardoned. There was no need for your bullying attack on them."

Combrink said: "In a country as beset with violent crime as ours no politician has the right to tell me that crime is diminishing. Even as I speak someone somewhere is being robbed.

"Farm attacks are most dastardly. The victims generally live in isolation and are elderly. There is undoubted cowardice in attacking elderly people."

After sentence was passed Barry Varty said: "Bring back the rope. Jail is not adequate. There is no forgiveness on my part. David was really getting going on the farm".

Barry's wife Erica said: "Nothing can bring back our son." - Sapa


Sunday, 8 April 2007

Nurse shot in hijacking

April 07 2007 at 12:46PM

A Kingsway Hospital nurse was in a serious condition after being shot during a hijacking in Amanzimtoti, near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Saturday.

Edna Moore, in her fifties, was shot once in the stomach when she ran out of her house as two hijackers were pistol-whipping her husband James on Friday around 7.15pm, said Superintendent Danelia Veldhuizen.

The armed hijackers, driving a white Uno, attacked Moore as he stopped his Mercedes in front of the gates to his home.

He sustained a gash to his left eye. Veldhuizen said his wife was "critical but stable".

The hijackers fled with the couple's old-model cream-coloured Mercedes.

In a separate incident an elderly woman who was housesitting was stabbed to death in Warner Beach, said Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha.

"She was housesitting, some guys broke in and stabbed her to death."

In the Durban city centre on Thursday night a man was severely beaten with a golf club, said ER24 paramedics.

According to eyewitnesses Jethro "Dollars" Booysens was walking down Smith Street when a maroon BMW pulled up alongside him, said spokesperson Neil Noble.

"A man got out and beat him savagely with a golf club."

Nothing was stolen from Booysens, who lives in Mayville.

While his current condition was not known, Botha said he was still alive when he was taken to Addington Hospital. - Sapa


Thursday, 5 April 2007

Father, son die in AK-47 attack

05/04/2007 08:00 - (SA)

Borrie la Grange, Beeld

Johannesburg - George Helmand, 57, and his son Ryno, 23, usually arrived at work at their Brakpan, East Rand scrapyard at 06:00 to buy scrap metal from early morning clients.

On Wednesday morning robbers were waiting for them, with a bag of scrap metal - and an assault rifle.

Minutes later, six shots rang out from an AK-47 assault rifle and father and son lay dead a few metres from each other outside their workplace, BG scrap metals in Hoy Street.

Their family was shattered. "I just want to tell him one more that I love him. What am I going to tell our (four-year-old) son Rynhard, if he asks where his daddy is? And his grandpa George was his whole world," Ryno's young wife Gerda Helmand sobbed on Wednesday.

Robbers car seen before

The three robbers arrived in a metallic light blue Nissan Skyline and pretended to have a bag of scrap to sell, before two opened fire on the Helmands without warning.

The robbers got away with a briefcase containing a few thousand rand, but took neither the father nor his son's firearms.

A witness, who was too afraid to have his name published, said he had seen the Skyline at the scrap dealer before.

"They must have been here before to sell scrap," the man said.

"Ryno went with his dad to the shop every morning to make sure he was all right, before he went on to their other branch. They were inseparable," Gerda explained.

On Wednesday morning, Helmand snr stopped behind his son's bakkie shortly before the robbers arrived.

Damage to the bodywork of the bakkies and a wall show how the robbers let rip at close range.

"My brother phoned me. He said Ryno and my father-in-law were dead. There was nothing anyone could do."

"The past weekend we all (the family) visited Vrede and this weekend we would have gone to the Drakensberg.

"We did everything together," Gerda said, while her mother-in-law Veronica and her sister-in-law Jenisé,19, cried inconsolably.

Kobus Pienaar, a member of the family, said the double-death on one day would be unbelievably difficult for the family to bear.

"Why did they have to be taken from us so cruelly? They were full of spark, generous and strong people," said Veronica, who had been married to George for 32 years.

Pier Bergh, one of the owners of BG Scrap Metals, said the industry was dangerous because a lot of cash changed hands every day.


Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Kids' vigil over dying grandpa

03/04/2007 23:36 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler , Beeld

Pretoria - Two young children sat with their granny and their dying grandfather after an intruder had gunned him down as he bent to kiss his wife goodbye.

Johan Jacobus Faber, a 66-year-old pensioner of Booysens in Pretoria's western suburbs, was bending over to kiss Annetjie, 64, when he was felled by a single shot to the heart.

Faber died half an hour later in his lounge in front of his wife and two grandchildren JJ, 10, and Caroline, 12, of Wespark , who were staying with them for the holidays.

Their father, Philippus Faber, 37, said the attack took place just before his father left home to drop off security guards at their posts.

He usually left at 03:00, but on Tuesday morning he was a bit later than normal.

Saw somebody outside

Philippus said: "He had unlocked the gate at 03:30 and returned to the house.

"Just as he was bending over to kiss my mother, who was sitting in a chair in the lounge, she saw someone moving outside."

Annetjie thought at first it was her son, Mathys, 39, who lived two houses away from them, but then she saw a stooped figure running to the door.

Philippus said: "The next moment, she saw someone push a firearm through the door and a shot was fired.

"My mom said that as my dad fell he told her to close the door."

Caroline heard the shot and woke her brother.

JJ said: "I saw my granny crying and grandpa was lying on the floor, groaning.

"My sister and I and my grandma stayed with grandpa all the time."

Mathys, who had heard the shot and grabbed his firearm, was on the way out when his mom phoned to tell him his father had been shot.

He ran to their house, but the killer was already gone.

He said he became panicky when neither the police nor an ambulance had arrived half an hour later, and they called his brother-in-law, Theuns Gerike, who works for Netcare 911.

Resuscitation didn't work

Gerike called Netcare who arrived soon afterwards.

Gerikle tried doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the grandfather, and massaged his heart, but to no avail.

According to Philippus, the murderer did not steal anything.


Sunday, 1 April 2007

Dad's battle for justice pays off

Helen Bamford

March 31 2007 at 04:25PM

A relentless two-year battle for justice paid off for a Meadowridge father this week when two men who attacked his teenage sons at home were sentenced to a combined total of 111 years in jail.

But the Crossroads men will actually serve 15 and 20 years respectively.

Tony Schreiber, a restaurant owner, refused to give up despite a series of frustrating delays, postponements and occasional no-shows by the opposing legal team.

In the two years he barely missed a single court appearance and refused to take "no" for an answer.

He drove the process personally, from getting 850 signatures from neighbours to present to the court asking for bail to be denied (which it was), to demanding an alternative investigating officer when the first one did not appear motivated. He even complained loudly and often in court when proceedings started late.

But this week the family could breathe a sigh of relief as the perpetrators were handed stiff sentences, even though a third suspect was freed.

Schreiber told Weekend Argus how the drama unfolded and its effect on his family, who he has asked not be named.

It happened one morning in February 2005.

Schreiber and his wife were in Johannesburg on business when they received the telephone call every parent dreads.

Their sons, aged 19 and 14, had been at home with their domestic worker of 21 years when they were attacked and shots were fired.

Details were sketchy but Schreiber immediately started making calls to the security company, their family doctor, and to an airline to get the first flight home.

He arrived to hear the chilling story of how close his sons and the domestic worker had come to being crime statistics.

Schreiber says his older son, wearing boxer shorts, had gone out to check the pool pump around 8.40am when three armed men hiding in the garden attacked him.

They smashed him in the face with the butt of a gun, and struggled to tie him up with cable ties.

A shot went off, waking the 14-year-old, who was sick and home from school.

He got out of bed to find a man rummaging through a drawer in the lounge, and ran to get a hockey stick to use as a weapon.

But the man chased him, put a knife to his throat, and frog-marched him through the house.

While his older brother was still fighting with the other two men, the youngster punched his captor in the face and hit a panic button.

The men began to flee, but one turned and pointed his gun at the younger boy and fired.

The boy survived thanks to the lightning-quick action of his older brother who slammed the door shut on the man's arm, causing the bullet to smash into the kitchen door instead.

All three intruders were arrested within 30 minutes by Diep River police officers.

Once back home, Schreiber built a wall around his house, got guard dogs, and decided to pursue the case.

"The cops were actually quite surprised when I told them I intended to pursue it. They told me that not many people bothered."

Schreiber said his family and their housekeeper had been irrevocably affected.

He said the justice system with its tardiness, apathy and disorganisation had been an eye-opener.

"Court started late, there were always breaks for tea and no one was prepared to work overtime. But I was determined to push it through, to drive the process and to never take no for an answer, which is an approach I urge anyone else in the same position to do."

This week Lwandiso Xundu was sentenced to 50 years in prison - 10 years each for two charges of attempted murder and 15 years each for two counts of armed robbery. They will run concurrently so he will serve 15 years.

Leon Qwabe was sentenced to 61 years - 20 years each for two counts of armed robbery and 10 years each for two counts of attempted murder. He was also found guilty of possession of a dangerous weapon for which he got one year. Because his sentence runs concurrently he will sit for 20 years. The third man was acquitted.

Schreiber said the judgment and sentence had come as a huge relief, but he was now determined to use the knowledge he gained during the experience to make sure other families did not suffer in the same way.

It led to him and fellow resident Brian Daniels forming a neighbourhood watch covering the suburbs of Bergvliet, Kreupelbosch and Meadowridge.

It is called BKM Crime Stop Watch and its objectives are for the community, police and security companies to work together not only to stop crime but to report all incidents happening in the area and get residents involved in taking charge of their own safety.

The area has been divided into separate zones with dedicated zone managers who are contactable 24 hours a day.

The organisation has two-way radios and a centralised emergency number - 0860 00 2669 - for residents to contact if they feel they need help.

"We want people to know that we are doing something and that we are around."

He urged residents to get involved on a personal level or business level.

"Only by working together can we make a difference," Schreiber added.

For more details call Brian Daniels on 084 512 7565.