White River police in Mpumalanga are looking for the suspects who shot and killed a farmer before attempting to rape his wife.
Sue Hadiaris, 49, still remembers looking down the long barrel of gun held by a tall, thin man with sharp facial features.
They had killed her husband, Mark, 55, 30 minutes earlier, Lowvelder reports.
“Take off your clothes. We want to rape you,” one ordered before she was able to reach the panic button.
Four minutes later, Full Circle Security Services arrived. When the lights from their vehicles illuminated the crime scene, the perpetrators fled on foot.
“Once police have caught her husband’s murderers, Sue will be able to identify them down to the sounds of their voices and their foreign, presumably Nigerian or Mozambican accents,” said a family friend on Sunday.
The woman, who requested to remain anonymous, was supporting her friend who had been robbed and lost her husband Friday night.
“Everything happened so fast, and some details are a blur,” she said.
Prior to the attack, the couple had enjoyed a pleasant evening with friends at the Night of the Lights festival in town.
Mark, Sue and two friends returned to the Hadiaris’ rental home on Heidelberg Farm, which borders Msholozi.
“We had a drink and went home. Their son, Scott, 12, came with us for a sleepover,” said the friend.
While enjoying a last drink outside on the stoep, two men charged the couple and forced them into the house at gunpoint.
From the kitchen, Mark took off towards the bedroom, “presumably to grab something they could use to defend themselves”, said the friend.
Yet the robbers followed him, and Sue heard a single gunshot echo through the night.
A bullet pierced Mark’s chest and back and went through the bedroom window. He died instantly.
White River police police spokesperson Warrant Officer Gugu Phiri said this happened at about 2am.
The assault on Sue began. First, her hand was cut.
“We spotted a sharpened screwdriver on the scene. They might have used that to cut her, but she is not entirely sure whether that was the weapon,” said the friend.
“The robbers demanded access to the safe and emptied it. They took cellphones, a laptop, cash and jewellery worth thousands of rands, and once they could not find anything else, demanded that Sue come up with something,” said Phiri.
“Sue offered them her silverware. ‘What is it worth? Can I get money for it?’ one robber asked. Sue affirmed this, fearing that her failure to cough up items worth stealing would lead to her murder.
“She was ordered to undress and realised that they planned to rape her first. This was when she could finally access the panic button,” said Sue’s friend.
Full Circle arrived, and the men left before they could carry out their threat. The police and the security company’s Mr Jan Barnard, thoroughly investigated the scene.
An ambulance arrived to take Sue to the hospital, but she refused to leave the scene before her husband’s body had been collected by the police’s forensic pathologists.
On Saturday morning, friends took her to Mediclinic Nelspruit. The wound on her hand was stitched up, and she was discharged. After spending the night at her friends’ home, she left for Durban to be with family.
The Lowveld community has been reeling with shock since the incident.
“Mark was a much-loved man,” said the family friend.
When the news of his death broke, many locals recognised him as the well-known biltong seller from White River, who regularly attended local markets and crawled into the hearts of his clients.
Within hours of the incident, a large white cross was erected in his honour.
Bruce Macaulay, a White River resident who knew Mark well, said he was a “wonderful man who earned his living in an honest, decent way and lived with integrity. What happened to him and Sue was just awful”.
According to Phiri, no suspects have been identified or arrested yet.
“We urge anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact Warrant Officer Theunis Botha on 082-876-3572,” she said.
Sue issued a R5 000 reward for any information that will lead to the successful prosecution of the perpetrators.
– Caxton News Service