Arrests for hotel murder

2008-03-31 00:00

ONE of three men arrested by the police over the weekend in connection with Thistle Hotel manager Mark Truter’s murder is a hotel employee, police said yesterday.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendant Henry Budhram told The Witness that one of the suspects was an employee at the hotel. The suspect was arrested at the hotel. Budhram said that he had been working there for the past two years and was the mastermind behind the crime.

An official source said “the man admitted to everything just after being arrested at the hotel at 9 am on Saturday morning”.

“The suspect continued to work at the hotel from the time of the incident to the time of his arrest,” said the official source.

The hotel suspect revealed to the police the names of two more suspects who were later arrested at a house in Mafakatini at 3 pm on Saturday.

The fourth suspect has been identified, but is still at large.

Truter (38) was left for dead after the four robbers broke into his parents’ hotel at about 1.30 am on Wednesday. They made off with R28 000 and a digital camera that was kept in the hotel safe.

Though Mark did not suffer any bodily injury, he died from asphyxiation as a result of being gagged with a plaster that covered his nose and face, rendering him helpless and unable to breathe. His hands and feet were bound.

It was no secret to friends, relatives and anyone who met Truter that he suffered from cystic fibrosis — a disease that affects the breathing and digestive system.

At 38, he was one of the oldest known surviving sufferers of the disease. Normal life expectancy is 18. The official source said the hotel employee admitted to being aware of Truter’s condition.

“All his life we fought so hard to keep him alive. He fought so hard to keep himself alive and in one night they just killed him,” said Truter’s brother Lawrence after receiving the news on Wednesday.

The suspects will appear in court shortly. The official source said they have all pleaded guilty to everything, but may change their statements in court.

Yesterday, Lawrence said: “We are extremely happy and grateful to the police and investigating team for handling things so efficiently”.

“Though dealing with a loss of this nature is not easy and one should never be forced to have to face it, at least we are being given some peace of mind.”

Truter’s funeral will be held at the NCF church in Alexandra Road at 2 pm on Wednesday.

melissad@witness.co.za

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