Monday, 21 January 2008

Cold-blooded gunmen target security complex

January 21 2008 at 06:11AM

By Botho Molosankwe

Boom gates, high walls and security guards couldn't prevent the cold-blooded shootings of two people in places they considered safe.

A Sandown woman was shot and killed on Saturday afternoon inside her secure complex.

This was after one of the three assailants allegedly held a security guard at gunpoint, allowing his accomplices to follow the woman into the complex and shoot her.

'They gave him no chance'

According to Mark Stokoe of Netcare 911, the motive was suspected to have been robbery or hijacking but they were unable to determine whether anything was stolen.

Another victim, Willem Odendaal, also known as Avi, was killed in front of his partner, Markus, at their Parkmore home on Saturday evening.

The robbers took two cellphones, "a few hundred bucks", a wallet and a laptop.

On Sunday, a grieving Markus was battling to understand why his lover was killed and what his killers did after running into the dark with the loot.

"I asked myself whether, after basically executing him, they were then going to celebrate with the few hundred bucks they got?" the 39-year-old said.

'These are not criminals, they are sick'

Odendaal worked as Markus's area manager at his United Colors of Benetton store and was busy with paperwork in the kitchen when Markus arrived home on Saturday evening.

They greeted each other and later opened a bottle of wine and talked about business, just as they normally did in the evenings. Markus then received a phone call from one of his stores and asked Odendaal to get him a piece of paper to write on.

A few seconds later, Odendaal started screaming. Rushing to where he was and asking "What is it, why are you screaming?", Markus heard a gunshot and saw his lover of seven years falling down. One of the three robbers put a gun to Markus's head, told him to go down on the floor and asked for his wallet.

"I told him that it is in the kitchen and pleaded with him not to shoot," Markus recalled.

The men took his cellphone, Odendaal's wallet as well as his phone and laptop before they fled. A few seconds later they were back, asking Markus to open the gate for them.

Markus couldn't save Odendaal's life.

"Avi was dead. There was blood on the floor - all over. He was shot in the head. They gave him no chance and did not even ask where the money was. He did nothing wrong. They could have just taken anything, but no, they just shot him.

"These are not criminals, they are sick. It is sick what this country is becoming."

If he were given an opportunity to confront the robbers, Markus would tell them: "You have taken from me a reason to enjoy my life. You took something dearest from me."

The couple's friends believe the robbers may have been hiding behind the bushes outside the gate and that they followed Markus as he drove in.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on January 21, 2008


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