Couple in Romeo and Juliet-like suicide

2011-11-16 07:05

In a modern-day Romeo and Juliet tale, an elderly Pretoria woman shot herself in the heart after finding the body of her husband, who had killed himself.

Gloria du Toit (77) picked up the gun her husband Theuns (79) had used to shoot himself, and took her own life on the bed next to him.

Two friends tried in vain to stop the shooting.

Couldn’t live without each other
Inez Schonken, nursing services manager at the Amandasig retirement village in Pretoria north, said that the shootings had happened too quickly.

“They always said they couldn’t live without one another. She couldn’t live without him, he couldn’t live without her. They were simply done with the world. They were alone and basically just wanted to end their lives.”

The incident happened at about 6am yesterday morning.

Police spokesperson Annerie Robinson said the husband had shot himself in the head.

Schonken said Du Toit was probably in the bathroom when she heard the shot that killed her husband.

After she found his lifeless body, she called two friends who lived nearby and asked them to phone her children.

Happened so quickly
“All she told her friends was that they must call her children. They stood with her in the bedroom where her husband was lying. One of them was still trying to talk to her, but everything happened so quickly,” said Schonken.

“She picked up the weapon in front of them and shot herself.”

Schonken said the two women were very traumatised and had received counselling yesterday, as well as a visit from a priest.

The retirement village had been shaken by the incident, she added.

The Du Toits were one of the first residents of the village when it opened 22 years ago. They are survived by three children.

No suicide notes were left.

– Hilda Fourie, Beeld

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