House robbers panic, kill man

2014-07-01 00:00

A SUNDAY lunch outing ended in tragedy, as robbers shot and killed a man in a farm robbery near New Hanover on Sunday night.

It is alleged that Carl Wessels (55), a risk manager for Noodsberg Illovo Sugar Mill, his wife Wendy and two of their friends, had just arrived back at Christine and Robert Wilson’s farm to find a housebreaking and car theft in progress.

Brian Jones, founder of SA CAN, said they were called by the SAPS and ER24 Advanced Life Support to assist with a house robbery and farm murder that had just occurred.

ER24 found that there was nothing they could do for Wessels and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Three suspects, one armed with a knife, one with knobkierrie and one with firearm, accosted the couples.

“During the robbery ... an unforgiving, brutal murder took place,” said Jones.

He said the motive seemed to be housebreaking and car theft because when the couples arrived at the home, the house had already been broken into and the suspects were allegedly busy hot-wiring the car.

Jones said the family were travelling in a brand new car and to avoid dogs scratching it, they decided to park it outside the yard and walk to the house.

“The suspects thought the family were coming for them and immediately accosted them [taking them] into the house.

“As the suspects locked the door the alarm went off and the suspects began to panic,” said Jones.

When the alarm went off, Carl was shot at point-blank range before the suspects fled the scene on foot, leaving the car behind. Jones commended the work done by the police and the support they gave the families involved.

“The SAPS have been beyond amazing, caring and we feel confident [the criminals] will arrested swiftly.

“The teamwork from all divisions, both locally, cluster and provincial [was outstanding]. They need to know how appreciative we are from the community,” said Jones.

He thanked the Careline Crisis Centre director, Joey du Plessis, and her team for staying until 10 pm on Sunday night to help the survivors.

“In something as horrific as this, point blank murder, your life is going in one direction and instantly it changes to another.

“We have a long way to go, walking with the survivors and just getting them through the next few days,” he said.

Wessels was described by a friend as a gentleman who was well-known and loved by the community.

At the farm where the murder occurred, private security guards were posted outside yesterday. They said Wessels’s friends were unwilling to speak to the media and referred The Witness to the police. They declined to give names.

Police forensic teams were doing an analysis of the scene.

Koos Marais of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union said the news of yet another farm attack in a rural area disturbed them. “We believe the police will give their urgent attention to the matter and expect arrests soon.

“We again call on farmers to be vigilant, especially when returning home and find things not as they left them.

“We request that the police step up their patrols in the rural areas,” said Marais.

Police provincial spokesperson, Captain Thulani Zwane said the suspect took two computers and printer. He said New Hanover SAPS is investigating a murder case and no arrests or recoveries had been made. It is believed the suspects also made off with cellphones and wallets.

Paying tribute on Wessels’s daughter Carla’s facebook page, Sheila Stone du Plooy wrote, “Yesterday the world lost a big, big man — our deepest sympathies not only to Wends, Liza and Carla but also Linda, Casper, Ilani, Marius and girls, Elsabe, Johan, Louis and Jeanine. Our friend, brother, husband, dad, brother-in-law will be sorely missed. We are all hurting with you. This pic of Swaerie is exactly how we will remember him. By now he is organising a big braaivleis fire for us all in heaven. Lots of love.”

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