What was the motive?

2014-04-23 00:00

THE Malawian national who is accused of going on a blood-curdling shooting rampage on a resort farm, allegedly killing two Durban residents, has left the police looking for answers.

While the alleged killer is in custody, the Harrismith police are searching for a motive as none of the indicators synonymous with violent crime can be isolated as a reason.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, the suspect, who was a caretaker on Tweevley Guest Farm in the Free State, allegedly killed Durban residents Brian (61) and Tilly (46) Pope in their bed and attempted to murder Brian’s son and daughter-in-law, Warren and Marlene Pope.

But while the owners of the farm have called the man accused of double murder “a good guy”, the Harrismith police are looking for answers.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Mmako Mophiring said the investigation has found that the man, who will only appear before the Harrismith Magistrate’s Court this morning, had no previous criminal record and had been working at Tweevley Guest Farm for five years. He allegedly killed Brian and Tilly with a revolver he allegedly stole from the farm owners’ home, managed to shoot Marlene in the arm then beat her with a steel rod, and stabbed Warren in the chest and throat with a pitch fork.

“While we have not been able to find his passport, his wife and cousin both have valid passports. We will still need to find out if he was legally in the country. He also has no prior criminal record,” said Mophiring.

He is being charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

“The murder occurred in the early hours of the morning. When we arrived the suspect’s cousin told us he would be back as he was a family man. We waited until the evening and when he tried to sneak back to his home on the farm, we arrested him. He had more than enough time to go on the run. We believe he watched us from a distance as we scoured the scene. He simply dropped the firearm on the ground, making no attempt to dispose of it,” said Mophiring.

He said as caretaker, the murder accused would have had access to everything on the farm.

“We know the firearm was removed from the owner’s house as he was away on the morning of the murder. We are still investigating how he got access to the gun. He would have had the keys for almost everything on the property as he and his wife would have fed the dogs, prepared the rooms and much more associated with running such an establishment,” said Mophiring.

Rozelle Hattingh, who works on the guest farm, was not willing to speak to the media but she did say the suspect was “a good guy and everything”.

“At this point we will let the investigation continue. We will talk to the press at a later stage,” said Hattingh.

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