Community’s emotional farewell to murdered Richmond couple and son

2014-03-10 00:00

IT was a fitting send-off for the Richmond couple and their son who were murdered last week in a farm attack, when friends and family came to pay their last respects at the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Hayfields on Saturday.

Hundreds of friends, associates, employees, the Midlands political leadership and community members packed the church where the service for 77-year-old Eckhardt Schutte, his 66-year-old wife Elizabeth, and their 33-year-old son Lutz was held.

The father, mother and son were stabbed to death in a robbery during which their house was ransacked.

Four men were arrested and have appeared in court in connection with the attack. One of the men, barely out of his teens, worked for the family.

After having asked last week that the media not attend the funeral service, relative and family spokesperson Karen Lowe said yesterday that the church had been filled to capacity.

“There were about 700 people at the service; that included friends and families — some of whom flew from Cape Town and Germany, their friends from Richmond, their employees, the police who worked on the case and the mayor from Richmond was also present.” She told The Witness yesterday that “it was a very emotional send-off, especially for Stephan who stood up and gave an emotional eulogy about his parents”.

Lowe said it was hard for the family that one of the people responsible for the killing had worked for them.

Following the tragedy, the family are trying to piece together their lives and are now trying to find a home for the deceased couple’s two dogs.

Lowe said the family cat, which was much attached to Elizabeth and was very old, unfortunately had to be put down. “We are trying to re-home their two dogs. They are currently being looked after by a friend and we have not yet found a home for them.”

Richmond Mayor Andrew Ragavaloo said he had attended the service because of the horror of the tragedy and because he had known the family personally. “We were really impressed with the service, which had a calming effect on people who were really very shattered. The family are far from having closure but this helped them to cope. There were many speakers and the service did justice to the kind of people they were.”

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela, who also attended the the service, described it as a painful experience. “The pain inflicted on that family is immeasurable.” He said it was cold comfort that those responsible had been arrested.

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