Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Bedding drenched in blood

04/03/2008 23:14 - (SA)

Henry Cloete

Vryburg - An elderly woman was seriously assaulted on a farm where she lives with her daughter and son-in-law, presumably by a previous farm worker.

Anna Viljoen, 86, is battling for her life, connected to various machines in Bloemfontein Medi-Clinic.

According to hospital spokesperson Amanda Appelgryn, Viljoen is in a critical condition, has various severe bruises and looks as though she had been throttled and beaten on her throat. Her knee is also broken and she has knife wounds on her body.

HP van Tonder, Viljoen's son-in-law, said the incident was "a hell of a shock" for him and his wife, Suzette.

"One wouldn't think that anyone could do that to an old woman. The woman who looks after her phoned me and told me we should throw out the carpets, the mattress and the curtains in my mother-in-law's room - they were full of blood."

Van Tonder and his wife left for Hartenbos on Saturday morning and received a call from their farm foreman saying that "there's big trouble".

"Someone went past the house on Saturday afternoon at 16:30 and let me know that everything looked fine. At 17:15, the next call came through."

He said that the woman who lived in the same room as Viljoen and looked after her, went to the shops with her husband.

When they got back, they became suspicious when they smelled food burning.

Van Tonder said: "The man apparently had taken some chicken wings from the fridge and started cooking them.

"My mother-in-law hasn't been able to speak much yet and has been disorientated, but she said he'd wanted the keys for the safe.

Recognised him from the past

"When he hadn't been able to find them, he began turning the house upside down."

Van Tonder said his mother-in-law's helper and others went into the house. Shortly afterwards, the man jumped out of a cupboard, slipped out of a window and fled.

"They and other members of the farming community chased the guy, but he got away."

They recognised the man as someone who had worked for Van Tonder six years ago, and had recently been employed by him again, part-time.

Van Tonder said: "We've only just heard from police that he had to appear in court on Friday in connection with a case of burglary and rape.

"We don't know how he got into the house, but he switched off the mains at some stage."


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