2015-05-01 06:00

THE murder of an 86-year-old nun has sent shock waves through the Ixopo community.

Sister Gertrud Tiefenbacher from the Sacred Heart Home in Ixopo was found dead in her room on Saturday by a fellow sister.

The nun, an Austrian immigrant, who had served at the mission for more than 60 years, had been gagged and bound.

It is reported that the victim was in her residence when she was approached by a suspect who allegedly tied her hands with typewriter cord. Her face was also covered with a towel, causing her to suffocate. It is alleged that foreign currency had been taken from Tiefenbacher’s room. It is also suspected that the victim was raped before she was killed.

Betty Firmstone (85), a friend of Sister Gertrud, said she was shocked to hear of the murder.

“I met sister in 1952, when I started teaching at a school attached to the mission. We worked closely together. She loved her work with children.

“This really was an act of savagery against a gentle, caring soul.”

Tiefebacher was part of an educational outreach programme that has served children and adolescents from disadvantaged families for more than 12 years.

Police have launched a manhunt for a group of men who are believed to have broken into the convent at the weekend.

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni said: “We condemn the brutal murder of an innocent elderly woman in Ixopo.

“Our detectives will work around the clock to make sure the culprits involved in this barbaric murder are brought to book.”

Anyone with information about the suspects is requested to contact Ixopo SAPS Investigating Officer Warrant Officer Thembelihle Hlangu on 076 828 9582 or branch commander Warrant Officer Zindela Madondo on 076 919 0372 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111

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