Police take relatives of slain couple in for questioning

2008-07-21 00:00

Police took three relatives of a couple murdered in their Westville home in for questioning yesterday and expect to make arrests today.

Businessman Johan Lotter and his wife Magdalena (“Riekie”), were found by their daughter at their Thames Place home on Saturday night.

Johan was the head of the Bayer/Lanxess chemical plant in Merebank.

The German couple had lived in South Africa for 18 years and had three children.

Police spokesman Superintendent Jay Naicker said Johan was asleep when attacked, while his wife was stabbed in the kitchen. A large knife was found at the scene. There were no signs of a forced entry and police believe the attackers were known to the couple. Naicker said it appeared Magdalena tried to defend herself, as she sustained several stab wounds.

He said the couple’s 20-year-old son told police that two men in balaclavas confronted him, took his cellphone and then locked him in his bedroom.

“The bodies were found by Lotter’s 26-year-old daughter,” he said. It is believed the daughter freed her brother from his room.

Members of the Organised Crime Unit took fingerprints and searched the property yesterday.

“Nothing was taken from the house. Police combed the area for vital clues that could solve the murders,” he said.

Naicker confirmed that the three suspects are relatives of the slain couple, but would not divulge further details.

“Police are still questioning the suspects who have indicated that they want to make confessions. We are also consulting with the Director of Public Prosecutions on this matter,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lanxess expressed their condolences. Chairman of the board, Axel C. Heitmann, said: “Our sympathy goes to the children, who have lost their parents in the cruellest manner.”

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