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Johannesburg - Nazi swastikas and Third Reich insignia on the wall. Bloodstains on the floors, bullet holes on the walls and an infestation of rats and cockroaches.
This was the state of the Northcliff house in which siblings Karen Buchanan and Gary Smith had been tortured and murdered when Allison MacDonald decided to buy it five years ago.
While the houses around it were in good condition, the house on Botha Avenue was anything but.
On March 14, 2008, the siblings were bound, gagged and beaten. Their teeth had been pulled out, and darts thrown at Smith, while Buchanan had been stripped and raped. And when their torturers had had enough, they shot dead Smith, 44, and his 46-year-old sister.
After the murders, Buchanan’s fiancé, Trevor Venter, decided he wanted nothing to do with the house and put it up for sale.
It had been on the market for a long time when MacDonald decided to buy it. She put in a very low offer.
MacDonald was overwhelmed by the work awaiting her.
There was no garden, only weeds all over the yard, overgrown trees and puddles of water from leaking pipes.
There were huge ditches in the driveway. In the bathroom, the bathtub, toilet and basin had been ripped out.
Most of the windows did not have glass and some of the cupboards in the kitchen did not have doors. None of the light fittings worked. All drains were blocked.
There were Nazi symbols all over the walls of one room.
There were bloodstains in the rooms where Buchanan and Smith were shot dead and bullet holes in the wall.
Six months later, and after spending about R300 000 on making it habitable, MacDonald was able to move in.
Today, the house is completely different.
The lounge where the siblings were tortured and killed has been painted, the window panes have been replaced, a new ceiling has been put in and there are family pictures on the walls.
The only reminder of what happened on that fateful day are the bloodstains on the wooden floors. Regardless of the scrubbing, sanding and varnishing, the stains remained as they were absorbed into the wood.
MacDonald is enjoying every moment in the house.
After a five-year investigation into the killings, police this year made a breakthrough and arrested Kenny Schroeder and Paul Mundel, the siblings’ friends.
Their trial was due to start on Monday. They each face two murder charges and charges of rape, kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances and the possession of a firearm. The motive is believed to have been robbery.