Jack Russells protect battered owner

2010-08-10 22:50

Pretoria – Three Jack Russell dogs belonging to Chrissie Harmzen, 70, climbed on top of her and guarded her after she was so severely assaulted on a farm outside Burgersfort in Limpopo on Friday morning that she died later that day of her injuries.

Johan Harmzen, 72, told in a heartbroken voice on Tuesday how the dogs wouldn’t let anyone near his injured wife.

“They were very attached to her.”

The couple has five Jack Russells.

Harmzen was attacked and assaulted at about 11:00, barely five steps from the back door of the house she and her husband rent on the farm, Dresden.

They have been living on the farm for the past ten years.

“She was beaten so hard that her lungs burst,” said her husband. She was also repeatedly beaten in the face and hit over the head with an unknown object.

Harmzen died of her injuries in the Midmed hospital in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.

The couple had been married for 50 years and three months.

“We were a part of each other,” said Harmzen.

Only Harmzen’s cellphone, the back door keys and the security company’s panic button were stolen. Nothing was taken from the house.

“It wasn’t a robbery or theft. It was just plain murder. It was a sadist who came here to murder,” Harmzen said.

Tried to describe attackers

During the attack Mrs Harmzen was able to press the security company’s panic button she always carried with her.

The company called her husband immediately.

“I phoned her once or twice on her cellphone, but the call was rejected each time. I knew she would never do that.”

The security company went to the farm and Harmzen raced home from his work, about 20 minutes away.

“When I arrived I saw her lying there (…) and the dogs were sitting on her.”

He says his wife tried to describe the attacker(s) before she was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

“She spoke a little, but her eyes kept rolling back in her head.”

A neighbour of the Harmzens was attacked on the same farm, where there are a few houses, at the end of last year.

Hendrik Pitzer, a neighbour, said there have been plenty of cases of theft on the farm.

“It’s terrible that she was attacked in the garden in broad daylight,” said Pitzer.

Ronél Otto, police spokesperson in Limpopo, said no suspects have been arrested yet.