Ashburton suspects arrested

2011-02-26 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg organised crime unit early yesterday arrested four suspects in connection with the February 5 murder of builder Bob Hudson-Bennett (61), which sent shock waves through the Ashburton community.

Warrant officers Derek Coetzee, Mebra Nzimande and Musa Ndlela headed the round-the-clock investigation that led to the arrests in Unit 18, Imbali, in the early hours yesterday. Two more suspects are still being sought.

Hudson-Bennett’s son, Luke, welcomed the arrests which he hopes will help his family get closure.

“It doesn’t make a difference to the fact my dad is gone, but it does give us confidence in the police,” he said.

The suspects, in their mid-twenties, will appear in court on Monday.

Police believe they have a “watertight” case after recovering numerous exhibits allegedly linking them to the crime scene, including knives and clothing, as well property that was stolen during the attack on Hudson-Bennett. One suspect is allegedly linked to the crime scene by his fingerprint.

The four were arrested in Unit 18, Imbali. The suspects are believed to have entered Ashburton by taxi and kept observation in the area. After seeing Hudson-Bennett’s wife, Cheryl, and her adopted son leave the property to visit friends, the assailants struck.

Hudson-Bennett, who remained behind, was stabbed to death after apparently disturbing the intruders.

After ransacking the property the gang is believed to have made their way back to Imbali on foot carrying their loot — a distance of at least 13 km.

Organised crime unit group commander Pete Scott praised his members for their sterling work in tracking down the suspects. He said that despite the apparent perception by the Ashburton community that nothing is being done to halt crime, the OCU has successfully solved at least five major cases of robberies and murders there in the past five years.

At this stage police have yet to investigate whether the suspects detained for Hudson-Bennett’s murder are linked to other housebreakings or crimes in Ashburton or elsewhere.

Hudson-Bennett’s murder catalysed co-operation between the Ashburton Lynnfield Park community and the police, and resulted in a visible police presence in the area.

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