Son makes gruesome find

2009-02-17 07:47

Bronkhorstspruit - "I ran up and down like a madman before I realised that I had to call the police."

These were the words of a shocked Johnnie Cilliers, 41, a sheep farmer from Bronkhorstspruit, as he tearfully related how he found the body of his father, a local lawyer.

Stephanus (Doppie) Cilliers, 66, had lived on the same smallholding as his son.

"I had to take my father to the Cullinan court at about 08:00 because he had lent his bakkie to my sister. When I arrived at the house, the front door was shut but not locked."

Johnnie called out to his father, but got no answer. He pushed open the front door.

"My father was lying inside the front door. There was blood around his body."

Stephanus had been shot in the upper body, his hands and feet were tied and it is suspected that he had also been strangled. He was clad only in the trousers he had worn the previous day.

A quiet seven years

"We've never had any incidents on the smallholding in the past seven years."

Johnnie said he had heard the dogs bark the night before, but hadn't suspected anything because the dogs often barked.

"I am my father's only son and we were very close. We always went horse riding and did many things together," a visibly upset Johnnie said.

Johan Paulsen, 42, a lawyer and Stephanus's colleague of more than 15 years, said: "I was in court when I heard that my friend had been murdered. I am deeply shocked. We are like family at the Cullinan court."

He said he and Stephanus had chatted about cricket and other things on Friday. Stephanus had done most of his work at this court.

Police spokesperson Johannes Jafta said Stephanus's cellphone, a gun and a hunting rifle were missing.

On Monday, the police were combing the house where the murder had taken place, looking for clues that could lead them to the murderers.

They were following tracks behind Stephanus's house. A police helicopter was used to take aerial photographs of the smallholding and fingerprints had been taken from the house.