BARBERTON – Peet van Es (55) begged his attackers to spare his life before he was brutally murdered during a farm attack in his home on Friday night.
His wife, Ms Arine Prins, recounted the night of horror to Lowvelder on Saturday. “Don’t kill me, you can take anything you want” she recalls hearing.
He was nonetheless stabbed to death, while Prins and a friend, Mr Michael Watt, were assaulted by five armed men. She said the attackers wore balaclavas. They entered the house at Moseley Farm on the R40 outside Barberton shortly after 20:00.
Van Es and Prins were originally from the Netherlands, but moved to South Africa many years ago. Prins was badly bruised. She told the newspaper that three armed men entered the house and two followed them later. “My husband was sleeping upstairs and we were downstairs when they arrived. They told us to be quiet and immediately took my phone. They tied our hands and legs using speaker wires.
“They assaulted me, demanding to know where we kept the safe. They covered my head with a plastic bag and used a pillow trying to suffocate me. They put me on the water bed and tried to rape me, but couldn’t.”
During her ordeal, some of the men went upstairs and stabbed her husband in the back. She wasn’t sure how many.
“Before they killed him, I could hear him screaming so hard, asking them not to kill him. But they did,” she said. “He told them to take anything they wanted, but that didn’t stop them.
“They took the jewellery I was wearing and other things in the house before leaving. After they left, I screamed for help. Fortunately the neighbours heard me,” said Prins.
The suspects left after 00:00. Hi-Tech Barberton arrived at the scene first. Mr Sakkie Dednam of Hi-Tech said they received the call-out at 00:36 and responded immediately. Officers arrived at 00:50. “Upon their arrival, the deceased was already dead,” he said.
According to police spokesman, Brig Leonard Hlathi, they are investigating the murder and house robbery. Nobody has been arrested. He confirmed that Van Es was stabbed with an unknown object when a struggle ensued between him and the suspects.
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They stole various electrical appliances, including televisions and the victim’s vehicle. The vehicle was later discovered abandoned in Brander Street, Mbombela by Hi-Tech Nelspruit, said according to business employees in the area it was likely abandoned there since the weekend. “A community member who read the article spotted it and informed us. Some of the people said they first saw it on Monday morning,” Police were were also called to the scene.
Provincial police commissioner, Lt Gen Mondli Zuma, condemned the attack. “To anyone that is involved in this kind of evil, you can run but you cannot hide. It is only a matter of time before we catch you, then send you to where people like you belong,” said Zuma.
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation can call Lt Col Ruben Pilusa on 071-525-1839 or their nearest police station.
A memorial will be held for Van Es on the farm at 15:00 on Friday.