Cape Town - Linda Weber and her husband Philip woke up when the alarm went off at 2.50am in their four-bedroom home on a smallholding in Joostenbergvlakte in Cape Town.
At first Linda, an estate agent, thought a wild cat, an owl or even bats had moved past the beams protecting the perimeter, triggering the alarm.
But when Philip, a retired builder, went to the lounge and looked through the windows to see if there was movement outside, shots rang out.
“The loud bangs echoed through the house. The noise went right through my body. I got such a fright,” said Linda.
Four shots were fired, one of which went through the lounge window and hit Philip, 63, in the neck.
He died shortly afterwards.
During an interview this week, tears ran down Linda’s cheeks as she recalled her husband’s last moments on February 17, 2012.
After hearing the shots, Linda walked towards the lounge and noticed “something white” lying between a couch and the dining room table.
She whispered softly: “Philip, Philip” but there was no answer, only a gurgling sound. Going closer, she saw him sitting down and bending forward.
When she pulled Philip back by his shoulders, she noticed that blood was pouring from his face.
She shouted to their son, Shawn, then 35, “Come help, Daddy’s been shot!”
“I was praying: ‘Please God, let’s get to a hospital as soon as possible.”
Linda and Shawn tried to pick Philip up, hoping to lift him into his bakkie and drive him to hospital, but he was too heavy.
While Shawn held his father in his arms, Linda phoned for help.
Then she heard Shawn crying aloud.
“While I was phoning, Philip just died in Shawn’s arms. He bled to death,” said Linda.
“Four to five minutes after we heard the shots, he died.”
Soon, personnel from a private security firm arrived, followed by police.
“I was so shocked I couldn’t think straight. One’s mind doesn’t absorb everything immediately,” said Linda.
“It was such an extremely senseless murder. Why shoot somebody who’s inside the house while you’re on the outside?”
Shawn told Weekend Argus: “How can people just do that and get away with it? I lost my father without having a chance to say goodbye. It happened so quickly.”
Shawn’s sister, Shelley-Lynn, then 33, Shawn’s daughter Amy, then 8, and Shelley-Lynn’s daughter, Danice, then 3, were “very traumatised”, said Linda.
“Our lives have been turned upside down. He put me and the children on a pedestal.
“He was extremely proud of his children and grandchildren.”
Linda remembered how the family explained to Danica that her grandfather had died.
“We told her grandpa was with Jesus and we will only see him again when we all go to heaven. She asked: ‘Did grandpa walk to Jesus, because his bakkie is still standing in the driveway?’”
About three weeks after the killing, two witnesses came forward to tell police they had seen two men running from the house. One of the men reportedly pointed his gun at the witnesses and said: “You will keep quiet”.
Police arrested a suspect but could not link him to the murder. The case against him was withdrawn due to lack of evidence and witnesses, said police media liaison officer Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut.
Linda said police had told her the witnesses feared for their lives and were too afraid to testify.
The police had informed her they only had footprints and partial fingerprints and hadn’t recovered the murder weapon.
No one has ever been brought to book for the murder.
Phillip and Linda had been married for 38 years and had lived in Joostenbergvlakte for 30 of those.
While Linda continued working as an estate agent, Philip retired and looked after the household, did the shopping and cooked for his wife as well as running a small home industry, growing fruit trees, proteas and buchu plants, and making wine, yoghurt and goat’s cheese.
He sold some of his products to health shops and organic markets in Stellenbosch, Fish Hoek and Somerset West.
“I never cooked. He loved preparing seafood for family and friends. He also loved baking things – fat-free rusks, milk tarts, bread and pizzas,” Linda recalled.
Philip’s hobbies included breeding koi and tilapia fish and doing woodwork, making beehive boxes and furniture.
Like many other comfortably off Capetonians, the couple spent many holidays away on the east or west coasts and had travelled to Australia to visit relatives.
On Sundays, they visited wine farms or went fishing, diving or swimming at Cape Point, Muizenberg, Kalk Bay or Pringle Bay.
“We did everything together. To have loved like we loved each other is very rare,” said Linda.
Shortly before he died, Philip erected steel burglar bars in front of all the windows in the house except in the lounge.
“I can’t help but think if the lounge’s windows had also been fitted with bars, then maybe the bullet would have hit a bar and he would still be alive,” said Linda.
“It’s been two years, but my heart is still very sore and it will be for a very long time.”
“Sometimes, it feels as if Philip is on an extended holiday and he will come home.
“I miss him so much. He was my soulmate,” said Linda.
Traut appealed to anyone who had information that could lead to an arrest to contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.