Bible reader murdered

2012-05-21 00:00

SPIRITUAL to the last, an Ashburton man was stabbed and killed as he read his Bible on the porch at his home on Saturday.

Ronald Drake (68) was attacked by three men — one armed with a gun and the others carrying knives, police said.

Spokesperson Captain Linda Gcwabaza said it is believed that the men threatened Drake and tried to push him into the house.

But a scuffle broke out and Drake was stabbed several times, and died, he added.

The men dragged Drake’s body a few metres into the garden before making their way into the house, where they confronted his partner, Patricia Wendy Semple.

The men tied her up and ransacked the house, taking with them a flat-screen television and three cellphones, Gcwabaza said.

A suitcase and other stolen items were later found outside the house.

Semple managed to free herself and called her neighbours, who alerted the police. She sustained bruises on her back.

Semple, whom Drake was planning to marry soon, is said to have been “shaken” by her ordeal.

“She can’t sleep and she is taking medication after what happened. She doesn’t feel safe any more,” said Lee-Ann Fourie, Drake’s youngest daughter.

Speaking at the murder scene yesterday, she wept as she spoke of her father, whom she described as a kind man who would not hurt a fly.

Fourie said Drake, who retired as a fire-fighter about three years ago, led a healthy and spiritual life and did not deserve to die as violently as he had.

“I am so used to walking into the house and finding him there. Now he is no longer with us. He was my rock,” she said.

Fourie, who lives in Mpumalanga province, said she and her father would speak at least once a week. She last spoke to him four days ago.

“We spoke about his sore arm and the last thing I told him was that I love him very much,” she said.

Ashburton fire officer Hein Langenhoven, who had worked with Drake at the fire station, described him as a dedicated worker and a dedicated Christian.

“He prayed every day with his colleagues before his shift started.”

Drake was also an active member of his community, giving freely of his time to help the homeless, said his friend, Pastor Willy Nelson of The Vine Ministries church in Ashburton.

He said they had lost a valuable member of their congregation.

“He was truly a man of his word and a reliable citizen.

“He also enjoyed being a part of the fire department.

“It is very unbelievable that any person would harm such a harmless man.”

Nelson said he would remember Drake for his ability to help others in any situation. “He was an amazing man,” he added.

Police have launched a manhunt for the suspects. Anyone who can assist in the investigation is asked to call Captain Linda Gcwabaza at 082 459 7064 or Crime Stop at the toll-free number 08600 10111.

• Siyathemba.Ben@media.com

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