Grandpa saves kids from suicidal dad

Johannesburg - A man’s apparent plan to commit a family murder was foiled when his father-in-law refused to let him take his children home with him.

Gerhard Spangenberg, 36, arrived to visit Deon, 6 and Eben, 2, at their grandparents’ house in Secunda on Friday but when Deon wanted to drive off with his father, his grandfather told him to go and take a bath.

At the time, André Behr didn’t know that the body of his daughter, Amanda, 34, was lying riddled with bullet wounds in the lapa next to the couple’s home.

Spangenberg drove off alone and shot himself in the head with a pistol a few kilometres from his in-laws’ home.


The drama started at about 20:00 on Friday when Spangenberg called his estranged wife to come and talk to him at their home in Springbok Street, Sunset Park.

The couple decided to get divorced last week. Amanda and the children recently moved in with her parents.

Behr said his son-in-law arrived at their house on Friday evening, shortly after their daughter had left. He said he had come to fetch the children.

"He was already holding out his hands to Deon while he said their mommy would be there soon. I stopped him.

"Gerhard appeared calm. Praise the Lord that the children didn’t leave with him.”

When Spangenberg called to ask his wife to go and see him on Friday night, her parents told her not to go, “but Amanda said Gerhard sounded calm”.

She apparently asked her brother, André, to follow her to ensure that everything was in order.


When he arrived at the house, he saw her car in the driveway but waited outside.

He only suspected something was wrong when members of the sector policing in Sunset Park and the police arrived.

He was informed that the neighbours had heard shots at the house.

They went to investigate and found Amanda’s body.

At that stage another police patrol car on the corner of Helen Joseph and Waterson Street found the body of Spangenberg in his bakkie.
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