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Lovers’ feud ends in tragedy

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Soraya Crowie

Seen here are two of Robert Koopmans daughters consoling each other after his suicide. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Kimberley -

A lovers’ feud ended in tragedy when a 55-year-old man killed his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself at his parents’ Midlands farm near Roodepan.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Sergio Kock on Sunday said that police were investigating a murder and inquest after Hilman Robert Koopman, shot and killed Elizabeth Tshwenyane, 37, before committing suicide.

“The shooting took place around noon on Saturday,” Kock said. “Koopman shot Tshwenyane and left her body on the Douglas Road approximately 25km from Kimberley. The body was discovered by the police in the veld next to the road, with two gunshot wounds, one in the hip and another in the head.

“The body of Koopman was discovered on his father’s farm in Midlands near Roodepan, with a gunshot wound to the head. The police also found a 9mm pistol lying next to the deceased.”

Anyone with information regarding the two deaths can contact Detective Sergeant Johannes Bosman on 073 416 1305 or Detective Constable Gwyneth Paulsen on 082 302 0407. The investigation continues.

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Hilman Robert Koopman. Picture: Supplied

SUPPLIED

Tshwenyane’s body, lying face down, was found in a bush on the side of the road. She was wearing black pants and a red T-shirt; she was not wearing any shoes.

It is believed that Koopman (Boeta), who was her boyfriend, suspected that she was cheating on him. He apparently drove to her house in Douglas at 2am on Saturday morning and parked outside to watch the house.

He saw a man coming out of the house and went inside to confront her. She apparently told him that the man was her lover.

Koopman then called his brother, Willem Krolls Koopman, and told him that he had caught his girlfriend cheating on him.

Koopman and the woman then drove to Kimberley, apparently to speak to his parents to intervene in resolving the issue.

On the way, however, Koopman stopped the taxi he was driving and shot Tshwenyane twice before leaving her body on the side of the road.

He then apparently went to his parents’ farm, where he shot himself in the head.

Koopman’s brother, Willem, said on Sunday that his brother had called him and told him that he had found his girlfriend with another man.

“He sounded very upset and warned that he was going to do something drastic to deal with the situation.

“I tried to calm him down and explained to him that things would work themselves out, but he refused to listen.

“When he arrived at the farm, he said that he had shot his girlfriend and was not going to prison for the murder.”

According to Willem, Koopman told them where he had left his girlfriend’s body before shooting himself.

He apparently also asked his father to look after their transport business as he had a government tender. He also asked him to make sure his nine children were taken care of.

After speaking to his father, he walked to the back of the farm and shot himself.

A former shepherd, Phillip Madito, witnessed the entire incident.

“I was sitting on my stoep, listening to the radio, when Robert walked past. He was smoking a cigarette and did not greet me. I was surprised to see him smoking because he did not smoke and asked him about it, but he ignored me.”

According to Madito, Koopman, “who looked strange”, looked up at the sky. “He then put a gun to his head. There was a loud bang and I saw smoke before he fell to the ground.

“His father came around the corner - just in time to see his son collapse in a pool of blood.”

The distraught family, including Koopman’s sister and several children, held a prayer service before the body was removed by the pathology van.

Koopman’s common law wife, Jeannette Slambert, who stays in Homestead, said he came to the house earlier in the day and gave her a letter, saying how much he loved her and the children.

“He said to me if I ever needed anything in the future his parents would ensure that the children and I were taken care of.”

According to family members, he also apologised in the letter for everything he had done and was about to do and pleaded with his father to take care of his children. - Diamond Fields Advertiser


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