Friday, 19 October 2007

Husband's agony far from home

Graeme Hosken

October 18 2007 at 11:24AM

"They are hurting her. They are hurting her." These were the anguished words a Pretoria man heard as his domestic worker described to him over her cellphone how his wife was being attack by armed thugs who had broken into their home in Lynnwood Manor.

Gideon Odendaal, who was in Cape Town on business, listened as Fransiena Majadibodu described the attack in a whisper while hiding under a bed.

The men - three of whom were arrested within hours of allegedly torturing, sexually assaulting and killing Cathy Odendaal on Tuesday - are believed to have overpowered Odendaal while she was walking through the garden of her home in Farnham Road.

It is believed the men may be linked to a spate of house attacks in the area, including the shooting of the three-year-old child of Musa Ebrahim's domestic worker during an attack on his home, also in Farnham Road, on Sunday.

'She kept saying that Cathy was calling for help'

It is believed that Odendaal, who ran a raw material trading business, surprised the men when she returned after going shopping.

They overpowered her as she tried to run into the house.

It is believed she was killed when, after being tortured and left for dead, she managed to press a panic button.

The security company then called Gideon to inquire if the family was all right.

He frantically called their home and her cellphone.

'I did not how I could help my wife'

He then called Majadibodu. Whispering, she told him how she was hiding under the bed and there were men in the house attacking his wife.

"She kept saying that Cathy was calling for help.

"She kept saying: 'She is crying, she is crying.' She said Cathy was calling her and that her killers were hurting her.

"She kept saying: 'They are hurting her, they are hurting her, they are hurting her,'" he said.

He called the police, his security company and the neighbourhood watch.

"I did not know what to do. I did not how I could help my wife. I did not know what was happening to her.

"All I wanted to do was protect her," he said.

He said it was clear from the state the property was in that his wife had put up a fight.

Her body was found in a washroom.

"It is terrible. I do not want to know what she went through. I cannot bear to go inside.

"My wife is dead. What am I going to do? What am I going to do now?" he asked, adding that their children no longer wanted to live in the house.

"We cannot bear to be in the house. It is just too awful," he said.

He said it was not known how the killers got into the house.

"There is no sign of forced entry. It is a complete mystery."

Police spokesperson Inspector Paul Ramaloko said that three people who had been arrested in connection with Odendaal's murder, would appear in court soon.

He said a gun as well as jewellery believed to belong to Odendaal had been recovered.

Commenting on the Ebrahim family attack, Captain Lucas Sithole said two men had held up the homeowner and guests.

During the attack a shot was fired, hitting the child.

"The suspects, who have not been arrested, escaped with one laptop and five cellphones," Sithole said.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on October 18, 2007


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