Ashburton man murdered

2011-02-07 00:00

BUILDING contractor Bob Hudson-Bennett was murdered in his Ashburton home on Saturday evening.

On Sunday morning the house in 15 A.P. Smith Drive, Ashburton, had all the appearances of normality. Doves called and a flock of green wood hoopoes cackled in the trees. Just outside the house at the end of a short drive lined with fir trees an unusually subdued Staffordshire bull terrier stood waiting expectantly for his master.

Inside the house police forensic experts were collecting evidence in the bloodstained lounge while investigating officer Warrant Officer Derrick Coetzee was busy trying to reconstruct the events of Saturday night.

Hudson-Bennett (61) appears to have been asleep in bed when he was woken by the sound of intruders. He got up to investigate and was stabbed to death in the lounge. Bloodstains were found in the lounge and the passage from the bedroom. A .32 live round and a spent cartridge were also found on the scene though no bullet wounds were found on the deceased.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said that Hudson-Bennet’s wife, Cheryl, had gone to visit friends at 6.30 pm on Saturday evening. She was accompanied by the couple’s 10-year-old adopted son Sandile, the child of their domestic worker, who died a year ago.

When she and her son returned around midnight he preceded her into the house and found the body. He called out, saying his adopted father was dead. “Cheryl who was behind him said ‘no, he’s fine’. But he was dead,” said a neighbour.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday afternoon Hudson-Bennett’s son, Luke, who works in the camera department on the Survivor series, confirmed the police account of events, adding that the name of the staffie was Stitch, one of several dogs owned by the Hudson-Bennetts.

According to a tenant, Jono Knoesen, who lives in a cottage at the rear of the main house, nothing was heard. “The dogs didn’t bark,” he said. “They normally go mad. It’s the first time I didn’t hear the dogs bark.”

It appears the intruders broke through the fence alongside the road and gained entry via a back door. They stole electronic equipment including a computer and a hi-fi.

The murder took place while Hudson-Bennett’s daughter was flying from London for a visit.

Yesterday his two sons, Ryan and Luke, arrived from Johannesburg to join the family.

Police are appealing to anyone with information that could assist in the investigation to call the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Derrick Coetzee of the Pietermaritzburg organised crime unit, at 033 845 8504 or on his cellphone at 082 556 1370.

Callers wishing to remain anonymous sould contact Crime Stop at the toll free number 08600 10111.

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