‘I want to rape you,’ says evil-eyed farm attacker

Victims Ms Sue and Mr Mark Hadiaris.

WHITE RIVER – Their eyes were dark and evil and their message clear – they were going to rape and kill her.

Ms Sue Hadiaris (49) still remembers looking down the long barrel of a large black gun. The man holding it was tall and thin with sharp facial features. His partner’s gun resembled his. They had killed her husband, Mark (55), 30 minutes earlier.

“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 the 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 somewhere between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Mr Mark and Ms Sue Hadiaris.

Mr Mark and Ms Sue Hadiaris.

“To Sue, 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.

Lowvelder was asked not to identify the owners of the farm for safety reasons. “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.

The Hadiaris home. (Photo: supplied)

Where it happened: the Hadiaris home. (Photo: supplied)

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.

The robbers forced the Hadiaris couple into their home from the stoep. (Photo: supplied)

The robbers forced the Hadiaris couple into their home from the stoep. (Photo: supplied)

The robbers forced the Hadiaris couple into their home from the stoep. (Photo: supplied)

Photo taken on the scene. (Photo: supplied)

A bullet entered Mark’s chest, exited his back and went through the bedroom window. He died instantly. According to WO Gugu Phiri, spokesman for White River Police Station, this happened at around 02:00.

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,” explained the friend.

The robbers demanded access to the safe and emptied it. They took cellphones, a laptop, cash and jewellery worth thousands of rand and, once they could not find anything else, demanded that Sue come up with something.

She 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 precede 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.

The bullet that killed Mark was not found.

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.

This part-time job complemented his daytime income, which he earned as an employee at forklift producers, Linde Material Handling.

Within hours of the incident, a large white cross was erected in his honour. It stands at the turn-off leading to Heidelberg Farm.

A cross was erected in Mark Hadiaris' memory.

A cross was erected in Mark Hadiaris’ memory.

The White River Sawmill is a well-known beacon located close to the turn-off. “We urge everyone to place flowers or other items at the cross to commemorate Mark,” said Mr Dian Pretorius.

Mr 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 and the incident has not been linked to any other recent crime in the area. “We urge anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact WO 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.


Helene Eloff
Court Reporter

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