Friday, 24 October 2008

Cops return fire on mom's killer

Barbara Cole

October 23 2008 at 02:41PM

Police working around the clock have tracked down the alleged killers of a mother who died in front of her two little girls.

One man was arrested and the other, who is said to have put up a fight when confronted, was shot dead.

Mary Visagie, 38, was shot in the stomach by gunmen who robbed her at her rented Drummond home late on Friday night or early on Saturday morning. The house is several hundred metres from the old Valley of 1 000 Hills Hotel.

It is believed the gunmen entered through an unlocked sliding door and demanded the keys to her Corsa car. They were unable to get them and Visagie ended up fatally wounded.

Her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter and six-year-old adopted daughter tried to comfort her as she lay dying in the corridor.

"It was a horrifying scene and must have been traumatic for those little girls," said Detective Inspector Keith Caswell of the KwaZulu-Natal house robbery task team which was involved in the investigations.

Visagie apparently told her girls to hide from the gunmen, but when the suspects fled into the night, the children brought her pillows, water and blankets. The gunmen took the only phone in the house, so the children could not call the police.

But at about 7am, the eldest girl ran to a neighbour to say her mother would not wake up.

Visagie and her husband, Jamie, were separated and their daughters are now with their father. The children are undergoing psychological counselling and returned to school on Wednesday.

Police arrested a suspect on Tuesday night and allegedly found him in possession of an unlicensed weapon as well as items stolen from Visagie's home. He is due to appear in court in Camperdown soon.

When police went to arrest the second suspect, he allegedly opened fire and was shot dead.

The murdered woman's husband said he was waiting for police to question the suspect as to why the robbery had escalated to such violence.

The couple opened and used to own popular Burn nightclub in Durban and Visagie still has the Red Door nightclub in Pietermaritzburg. They had just closed down the Scaramouche Club in Hillcrest.

A memorial picnic gathering will be held for Mary Visagie at the Monteseel view site at 10am on Saturday. Mourners have been asked to bring along photographs, stories and mementoes for the little girls.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Daily News on October 23, 2008


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