Robbers gun down farmer's wife

2006-01-17 22:55

Dordrecht - A farmer's wife who was going to start a fresh life with her husband in Montagu in the Little Karoo has been denied her wish - she was shot dead on their farm near here.

Police found the naked body of Jenny Thornton, 55, on the dining-room floor at Devon Bank farm on Tuesday morning. She had been shot in the head and stomach.

She and her husband, Don, 58, who was in Bloemfontein on business at the time of the murder, were about to settle in Montagu after selling their farms in the Ida district.

They had lived on Devon Bank farm for 30 years.

Captain George Weideman of Indwe police said Thornton was apparently overpowered in her garden about 19:00 on Monday after she had gone out to turn off the irrigation.

"The television was still switched on when police forced open the door on Tuesday morning.

"Her attackers apparently forced her back into the house before killing her," said Weideman.

Became suspicious

He said the safe was open, with the key still in the lock, and the bedroom was in disarray.

It could not yet be determined what had been stolen from the house. The robbers left in Thornton's car.

A neighbour, Peggy Fitzhenry, was to have met Thornton along the farm road on Tuesday morning to go with her to Queenstown. She became suspicious when Thornton failed to arrive.

Meanwhile, Thornton's husband and friends also became worried because the telephone stayed engaged for hours.

Weideman said Fitzhenry went to investigate and found spots of blood on the verandah, then called the police, who forced open the front door and found Thornton's body.

One of Thornton's alleged killers, a 20-year-old farmworker, was arrested about 12:00 on Tuesday.

Weideman said: "We reacted on information from the community and are still looking for another suspect."