Farm killers caught

2010-07-29 00:00

FARMERS yesterday welcomed the swift arrests of four suspects — one of whom was later shot dead by police — in connection with the brutal murders of Lorraine Karg (58), domestic worker, Hilda Linane (34) and farmworker, Zakhewo Mhlongo (66) at Kamberg.

The shooting of the suspect by police is being investigated by the Independent Complaints Directorate, according to a statement issued by provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker.

Members of the Pietermaritzburg organised crime unit worked around the clock to solve the case. In the early hours of yesterday morning, they succeeded in arresting four men believed to be the perpetrators of the attack.

The arrests were made at Hlatikulu, about 30 km from the murder scene.

They also recovered a 9mm pistol thought to be a murder weapon, knives and a balaclava.

While two members of the investigation team were busy taking fingerprints from one of the suspects late yesterday morning at Mooi River, the 31-year-old man allegedly lunged at the officer, disarmed him of his firearm and fired a shot.

The bullet allegedly passed through a window of the Community Service Centre at the Mooi River police station where the incident happened, and narrowly missed another police officer.

Within seconds the policeman drew his own firearm and retaliated, shooting the suspect, who reportedly died at the scene.

The Witness was told the shooting took place in an office next door to where a large group of investigators were gathered.

The suspect, who previously worked on the Karg’s farm, is believed to have confessed to his involvement in the attack on Sherwood farm.

It is believed he was a major roleplayer and instigator of the incident.

Sources say the motive for the attack on the night of July 21 appears to have been a robbery that was interrupted by the unexpected return of Lorraine Karg and some of her staff members.

She reportedly went back to the house to rally reinforcements to help her husband, Neville, and others to fight a veld fire thought to have been deliberately set in the grazing lands on the farm.

Hardened policemen described the manner in which the victims were slain as “vicious” and said the brutality with which the murders were carried out was shocking.

Lorraine Karg appeared to have been grabbed from behind and her throat slit.

Mhlongo — who is believed to have put up a fight — met the same fate.

A bullet claimed the life of Linane.

Two youths, one of whom was later found locked in a bathroom, survived the attack.

A farmer and friend of the Kargs who did not want to be named said the arrests of the suspects will enable farmers to “sleep better” at night.

He said the community has been living in fear since the murders and said farmers are very happy about the arrests.

He confirmed that the Mooi River and Kamberg farmers’ associations are planning to meet today to discuss security in the area.

“With everything that is happening in the country today we all have to wake up and look after ourselves.”

Responding to news that one of the suspects had been shot by police, Koos Marais, spokesperson for the security desk of the KwaZulu Natal Agricultural Union, said that although the organisation is “concerned about another death”, it fully supports the response of police under the circumstances.

“The police obviously acted in self-defence,” he said.

“Should this suspect have escaped, what would have happened in the community, and what would the lives of the witnesses have been worth?” he said.

The Witness learned that the suspect who was killed had worked on the Karg farm until recently.

Although he had not been dismissed, he had reportedly suddenly abandoned his post, leaving his belongings behind on the farm.

The other three suspects — who are aged between 22 and 28 years — are expected to appear in court in Mooi River tomorrow.

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