Linden murder accused killed in crash

2012-03-15 09:01

Johannesburg – The Linden man who allegedly strangled his wife and quadriplegic son with a scarf, died in a car crash on Wednesday - only days before his murder trial would have started.

The silver BMW in which Ben Engelbrecht, 52, was driving collided head-on with a truck on the R54 in the direction of Vereeniging at about 07:50.

He died on the scene. The truck driver was not injured, said ER24 spokesperson, Vanessa Jackson.

According to police spokesperson Sergeant Teboho Lephoto, the truck driver said the BMW had been driving in his lane at a high speed. The truck driver apparently tried to swerve out of the way to avoid an accident, but the two vehicles still collided.

Family shocked

The deceased’s brother, Stoffel Engelbrecht, said on Wednesday that he and his other brother, Neels and their sister, Lynette Mann, were very sad and shocked. “We hope and pray answers will come.”

Stoffel Engelbrecht said his brother had “never been the same old Bennie” again after the deaths of his wife and son, but that there “were no signs that things had gotten too much for him”.

Ben Engelbrecht was out on bail. His trial would have started in the South Gauteng High Court on Monday.

He was facing a murder charge for killing his wife, Ina, 49, and son Kobus, 21, in their Linden home on May 27 last year. He tried to kill himself afterwards by gassing himself in the car but was found by his brothers.

He had been living with his eldest brother, Neels Engelbrecht, in Meyerton since January after being discharged from Sterkfontein psychiatric hospital, where he had been admitted for observation.

According to the Sterkfontein report, Engelbrecht showed no symptoms of depression and had no suicidal thoughts.

Neels Engelbrecht said he and Ben had still socialised on Tuesday evening before going to bed.

When he woke at about 06:30 on Wednesday morning, Ben had already left with Neels’s car.

Police informed them of his death at about 10:00.

The accident happened about 40km from Neels Engelbrecht’s house.

“We don’t know where he was going,” said Stoffel.

Daughter angry

According to Ben Engelbrecht’s lawyer, SW van der Merwe, one of the State prosecutors in the murder trial had called him on Wednesday morning and said his client had “taken a car and driven off”.

Shortly afterwards Stoffel Engelbrecht called him and said his brother had died.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson advocate Mthunzi Mhaga said the case would probably be withdrawn in court on Thursday when a legal death certificate was handed in.

“Then all the legal aspects of this sad case will be over,” said Van der Merwe.

Ben Engelbrecht’s daughter Anlie van der Merwe, a teacher in Windhoek, could not be reached for comment.

At a memorial service for her mother and brother she had said she was angry about what her father had done, but she was not angry with him.

Stoffel Engelbrecht said on Wednesday that his brother and Anlie had had contact and were working on their relationship.

“What happened wouldn’t have broken the bond between father and daughter.”

Mann described her brother as a wonderful person who was going through a difficult time.


  • Nicholas - 2012-03-15 09:05

    Sad saga ..

      Janice - 2012-03-15 09:37

      Easy way out????? Coward!

      Nicholas - 2012-03-15 09:44

      Easy to judge hey Janice ..

      shudusO - 2012-03-15 10:08

      this just prove that people that are a danger to the community should never be given an opportunity to go back to the public before corrections.

      Hallo - 2012-03-15 12:48

      What's sad is how he was granted bail. Pieter du Plessis the magistrate should be suspended. "Du Plessis said the court, in deciding whether to grant bail, had to consider whether Engelbrecht would try to take his own life again. "The court feels the circumstances were so unique that you will likely not try to commit such a crime if released on bail. "It is also clear from the [psychiatric] report that if you receive regular psychiatric help, the risk of [suicide] is very slim," Beeld quoted him as saying. REALLY???

      Squeegee - 2012-03-15 17:33

      Hallo, Magistrates can only act on evidence before them. If the Psychiatrists gave the OK then the Magistrate had no real choice but to release him.

  • Joe - 2012-03-15 09:08

    “We don’t know where he was going,” said Stoffel - A bit naive, he was driving in the lane of oncoming traffic this was surely suicide?

      Sam - 2012-03-15 11:06

      A perfect example of a non-sequitur.

  • Mariette_D - 2012-03-15 09:12

    Very sad! Condolences to the family and friends. He is in a better place now.

      Shane - 2012-03-15 09:19

      Not necessarily.

      Mariette_D - 2012-03-15 09:28

      It is better than being in prison. I agree that its the easy way out. I am feeling very sad for Anlie.

      Schmee - 2012-03-15 10:03

      Killed his wife and son, then takes his brothers car for the sole purpose of never returning it and rams it into a truck putting the truck drivers’ life at risk. What was he thinking??? Glad he is not rotting in jail, he can rot in hell.

      Mariette_D - 2012-03-15 11:13

      @ Blacker I never said I agree with what he did or how he handled it. I am sad for the family he left behind. I am sad that it had to end the way it did. He was in a dark place and I dont think it was a easy decision.

      Schmee - 2012-03-15 12:06

      If you are in a dark place then seek the help of professionals. You can't just go around killing. Yes I feel extremely sorry for the family that has been left behind. They now live with their feelings. I have no empathy for him.

      Gabby - 2012-03-15 13:01

      @Blacker - So you are ordained by God, you judge and condemn people. Very Christian of you......

      Tennille - 2012-03-15 14:19

      Mariette he had a family, he murdered 2 of them. He also had a gambling problem and selfishly killed his wife and son because he had squandered all their money and then endangered the lives of other road users when he caused this accident. The world is better without oxygen thieves like him.

      Mikkel - 2012-03-15 20:36

      Never knew that hell was better than heaven.

      inwardk - 2012-03-16 00:58

      I am missing something - how is this sad?

      ttrevenen - 2012-03-16 11:54

      Hell hopefully.

  • Azwi - 2012-03-15 09:20

    "Engelbrecht showed no symptoms of depression and had no suicidal thoughts." "He tried to kill himself afterwards by gassing himself in the car but was found by his brothers" I don't understand these two contradictory statement!

      elspeth.hassall - 2012-03-15 09:24

      You are not the only one!

      Deon - 2012-03-15 09:54

      He might have hidden his depression in the hospital to get out. It is bad enough to kill yourself but why take your brother's car?

      Marion - 2012-03-15 10:29

      When I belonged to a youth organization in the 80s we used to visit Sterkfontein Hospital once a month. Unless they have modernized it radically I tell you that place is enough to make even the sane go insane. If you never had depression when you went in you sure as hell would have it by the time you got out. As I say, maybe they've jacked it up in the past 30 odd years.

      yolie.Landa - 2012-03-15 11:08

      It just goes to show those questionaires are really useless. One can lie to psychologists and psychiatrist. U cant rely on wt the patient tells u.

      inwardk - 2012-03-16 01:02

      I doubt Sterkfontein has been modernised and the thought of all these creepy criminals eeking out a living in a dirty, rat infested facility is heart warming indeed.

  • Skuiter - 2012-03-15 09:20

    he tapped out the coward

  • Vuyolwethu Sanele Gqwaru - 2012-03-15 09:20

    Can you say suicide? He couldn't face up to what he did and took the easy way out. A painful way but still easy way

  • Faheem - 2012-03-15 09:23

    this was suicide, wantred to kill himself

  • Michael - 2012-03-15 09:23

    a better place... hes in hell, and i hear thats not a good place. what an idiot, he could have killed the truck driver or someone else.

  • Peace - 2012-03-15 09:23

    bloody corward chickened out and put people`s lives at risk at the same time.

  • Thoka - 2012-03-15 09:25

    cant leave with guilt either.

  • Lee - 2012-03-15 09:31

    I agree obviously suicide and as for the Sterkfontein report showing no symptoms of depression and no suicidal thoughts are quite wrong I would say considering he tried to commit suicide once before and it is known that it is very difficult to see if one is suicidal or not and that is why it is also known that if people do threaten it or have done it before to ensure they get help and not ignore it as that alone is a sign. Sorry to all those in this case and to those loved ones hurting, let's hope you all find peace.

      Sam - 2012-03-15 11:08

      Where did you get your degree in psychiatry?

  • Charles - 2012-03-15 09:34

    oh boo hoo....... this guy kills his family, puts his daughter through hell, knew he was going to prison so rather decided to end it, risking the lives of others in the process..... in my opinion he is a narcissitic coward!!! good riddance!!!

      Shane - 2012-03-15 09:46

      Narcisists are normally mentally tough. They wouldn't generally commit suicide. This guy is a coward.

      Shane - 2012-03-15 11:07

      Why all the thumbs down? It's a fact.

      inwardk - 2012-03-16 01:05

      Narcissists are extreme cowards, have no backbone at all. They hide behind their little games, their superior facade, YES narcissists commit suicide if they are in a corner and cannot back out. They rather die than get caught and face exposure.

      Shane - 2012-03-16 06:31

      Karen, I leave the IT business for you and you leave forensic psychology for me. How about it?

      dumisiledee - 2012-03-16 12:16

      Good riddance indeed

  • paulmandlankosi - 2012-03-15 09:40

    Poor truck driver

  • cornel.oosthuyzen - 2012-03-15 09:42

    Why in the first place did he get bail? Killing your wife and son? What if he had killed the truck driver and maybe other people? Should have kept this guy locked away.

  • TBlogger - 2012-03-15 09:42

    Guilty by Admission or.. by death in this case. Perhaps its a good thing, should he have been convicted, perhaps received 15 years, he would probably have been released on good behaviour or sent to the coo coo hospital.. we're better off without him. Atleast no one else was injured....

  • Sally Lewitt - 2012-03-15 09:43

    Seeing that SA has abolished the death penalty, perhaps justice has been served. \r\nIf there's a hell, may he burn for all eternity, after all, he WAS an oxygen thief!

  • Dejavu RealMan - 2012-03-15 09:47

    Ghost was with him on line!

  • Cary - 2012-03-15 09:54

    Hope he rots in hell!!

      Retha Sharp - 2012-03-16 21:38

      Vinnig om te oordeel? Plaas jouself in sy familie se skoene! As jy sy boetie of sussie is sou jy dit ook gese het maak liewers seker jou lewe is in orde voor jy oordeel

  • Sean - 2012-03-15 09:57

    Its called Karma

      Brigitte - 2012-03-15 16:04

      you took the words out my mouth Sean!

  • lovellt - 2012-03-15 09:58

    What a lame and sorry coward this man was, strenght to the rest of the family.

  • Marion - 2012-03-15 10:10

    This man should have stood trial and should not have been out on bail. However, anyone who considers suicide an easy way out needs to reconsider that opinion. It is the desperate way out. There is nothing easy about taking your own life. I believe that if someone decides to end their own life they have that right but I also believe that they do not have the right to put others at risk or involve others directly in that action. My sympathy to all his loved ones. Also to the truck driver who now has to deal with the trauma of this death.

  • Eddie - 2012-03-15 10:17

    And all indications are that he was prepared to write off the other driver too. What kind of a man (?) was he?

  • Melusi Myaluza - 2012-03-15 10:26

    please make sure its him who died,he could have faked his own death,we want dead and thoroughly verified its him,no mistakes on this one please, so long scum!

      Shane - 2012-03-15 10:38

      Yes, he convinced someone else to collide with a truck for him. Are you for real?

      Napolita - 2012-03-15 11:00

      @Shane - As a scenario/possibility; He could have been hi-jacked and the hi-jacker is the one who collided with the truck.

      Shane - 2012-03-15 11:06

      Napolita, you watch too much TV.

      Melusi Myaluza - 2012-03-15 11:06

      somebody check the boot please(might be hiding there), no stone must be left unturned in pursuit of justice, he deserves to die,may he rot in hell!!!!

      Marion - 2012-03-15 12:00

      @Melusi - lol - if he was in the boot he certainly wasn't hiding there...

      Mikkel - 2012-03-15 20:38

      Napolita please let go of your imagination on this one thx.

  • Den - 2012-03-15 10:56

    lets hope its a lot hotter where you are, why endanger another persons life while trying to kill yourself.

  • Martin - 2012-03-15 11:00

    gotta love the forgiving religeous folks, its hard to practice what you preach hey nxa

      Deon - 2012-03-15 16:47

      Most of those think he is in a darker place now.

  • flysouth - 2012-03-15 11:14

    This is one reason why bail is never given in the US on murder charges. The so-called 'justice' system in SA needs a total revamp, with much less emphasis on the accused's rights.

      Deon - 2012-03-15 16:45

      We have another big problem in SA: Overcrowded prisons. No wonder they set people free or give bail so easy.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-03-15 11:21

    Either way he got what he deserved.... and it wasnt freedom

  • Jan - 2012-03-15 11:29

    His Son & daughter's murder is sad, his death is not so sad.

      Twolips - 2012-03-15 18:11

      Son and wife!

  • Vicky - 2012-03-15 11:30

    Never judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes… I have just felt real sorrow for this whole family from the start and life has tought me to never say never...

      drishworth - 2012-03-15 12:46

      I agree Vicky - we do not hope to be able to understand the pain of another and who are we to judge him for taking his own life. No doubt Ben believed he had reason to take the liives of his wife and son but it is inexcusable that when choosing to take your own life that you choose a method that potentially could have taken the life of a complete stranger ............... ultimate selfishness.

  • chantalvj - 2012-03-15 11:33

    Some deaths are horrible tragedies - like the cruel death of his wife and child, and others are just karma. Should've killed yourself - and only yourself - the first time, Ben. I am sure I will attract many thumbs down for my callousness - but when you kill innocent people for ANY reason - you deserve to suffer or die. How did he have the right to decide his wife and son would be better off dead?!? He did not. loss here - except maybe that he endangered other people's lives and damaged other people's property. Luckily the truck driver was unhurt.

  • Silvana - 2012-03-15 11:46

    Life works in mysterious ways.

  • Werner - 2012-03-15 12:52

    Oops, you didn't think you would bump into your wife and so soon did you....

  • jenny.gormanandrews1 - 2012-03-15 12:54

    This man obviously had serious depression and needed help. I don't condone what he did---- murder is a serious crime, but he was obviously at the end of his tether and being depressed and stressed out must have thought that was the only way out for his family and himself!! The fact that the people at Sterkies did not pick this up is equally sad. It is esy to judge and call people names when you are healthy, young and of a sane mind. You need to have walked in a persons shoes before you pass flip judgements. Depression is not a mental illness. It is a mood disorder, where there are not enough chemicals produced in the brain that control your mood. Similar to people with sugar diabetes. They do not have enough Insulin produced by the pancreas to metabolise sugar. But because Seratonin is produced in the brain, people in general think that a depressed person is coo-coo and that is why they do the silly and sometimes serious things they do. Sometimes they are crying out for help but the help does not come. Imagine the frustration of the man when he was not diagnosed properly at Sterkies!! Hence Wednesdays accident!

      drishworth - 2012-03-15 14:39

      @jenny - a tragedy indeed but it would appear that this was no accident and that Ben caused the crash deliberately. His depression may account for why he wanted to die but that is no excuse to have put another person (a stranger to Ben) at risk. This looks like a horrific crash and the truck drive is very fortunate to have walked away physically unscathed - but he will no doubt be haunted for a long time to come by the horror of this act.

      inwardk - 2012-03-16 01:09

      Jenny - It is obvious that you are not intimately familiar with psychopaths and narcissists. These are not normal people who are a little depressed. These are personality disorders - NEVER EVER fall for the sorry, victimised appearance of a psychopath or narcissist - because you will be taken advantage of quicker than you know. People just have no idea.

  • emokgojoe - 2012-03-15 15:15

    good riddance

  • isabel.porzio - 2012-03-15 15:18

    RIP Ben, I hope you're with your family now in peace and perfection.

      Melusi Myaluza - 2012-03-15 16:02

      He is in hell,get your facts rights!

      Mikkel - 2012-03-15 20:42

      Wtf are you for real isabel? Let me just enlightened you a bit. First of all he STRANGLED his wife and his child. Secondly, killing someone is a crime something you weren't aware of.So no I highly DOUBT that he is in heaven.

  • christine.botha - 2012-03-15 16:11

    Hallo, Shuduso, Janice - One question... Gave either of experienced a family trauma like this? Shuduso & Janice - You have no right or idea of what that family has gone thru and still is going thru... Who do you think you are? Have you had a trauma like this? Do you know what was going thru his mind? The family is till hurting, have any of you thought of what your comments are doing to them? Dont you think they need, love,support and a bit of understanding? No matter what who has done, Family is Family and blood is blood - So please keep your comments to yourself! Leave this family alone and if you cant say anuthing nice - Keep your mouth closed!!! They have gone thru enough and they do not need this!!!!!

  • Shelagh - 2012-03-15 16:18

    I'm sad for him, but very glad that he didn't kill the poor truck driver - that would have been dreadful.

  • Ignatius - 2012-03-15 19:25

    Good riddens, pitty he didn't really suffer longer for the pain he caused to the people that loved Ina and Kobus! Just relieved that the truck-driver is unharmed!

  • Yolandè Rwaai - 2012-03-15 21:29

    Okay, so how does this work?! The woman who poisoned

  • jayne.hurter - 2012-03-15 22:06


  • inwardk - 2012-03-16 00:53

    Yeah!! good news

  • Bob - 2012-03-16 07:34


  • Annie - 2012-03-16 08:20

    Ahhh....our fellow men & women...gotta love 'em. All these armchair shrinks, judges, juries...who have ALL the answers and know EXACTLY what they talking about. Of course..never once thinking that unless we have walked a mile in anyone else's shoes..we are unable to judge? Condolences to the families involved.

  • Selebaleng - 2012-03-16 08:56

    I suspect suicide!

  • Richard - 2012-03-16 08:57

    Not sure if this is suicide, can only read between the lines but if I faced the rest of my natural life in one of our prisons I may very well have opted out. One simply cannot judge people unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. Simply very sad.

  • Anastasia - 2012-03-16 09:22

    I would like to remind all commentors that the man killed his family out of desparation. His son had been badly injured in an accident and the medical bills had all but wiped the family out. I doubt that he made his choice lightly, and he intended for all of them to die at the same time - his suicide attempt was stopped in time. There is no winner in this story, it is just a long sad series of events. Judge him, and call him a coward or a murderer, but at the heart of the story is a destroyed family, and a father who couldn't find another way out.

      dumisiledee - 2012-03-16 12:28

      why didnt he kill himself ONLY??????

  • Fanie - 2012-03-16 09:25

    This was no accident! The man commited suicide. He tried to take somebody else with him. Why did he get bail. Charge the magestrate who gave him bail.

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-03-16 11:51

    Oh well, that's over, moving on..

  • ttrevenen - 2012-03-16 11:53

    Hmmm... a wonderful person. NOT! Murders his wife and son and then drives head-on, at high speed, into another vehicle in order to kill himself? What about the occupants of the vehicle he purposely drove into - he was happy to kill them too? Narcisistic swine.

  • dumisiledee - 2012-03-16 12:03