Son relives farm attack trauma

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Pietermaritzburg - The son of an aged Richmond farm couple spent a week in a psychiatric hospital after his parents and brother were tortured and killed, the Pietermaritzburg High Court heard on Tuesday.

A tearful Stefan Schutte, 41, told the court his wife and two sons also needed psychological counselling after his parents and brother were murdered.

Ekard, 72, and Elizabeth Schutte, 66, and their son Luts, 33, were repeatedly stabbed, their throats slashed and their bodies burnt after being doused with petrol in March.

Stefan Schutte had flown from Germany for his father's 73rd birthday in March.

Testifying in aggravation of sentence he said that as a result of the attack 18 dependent families could lose their support.

Appearing before Acting Judge Louis Barnard are Zanokuhle Madima, 19, who admitted he planned and executed the attack, Siphloihle Ngubane, 20, and Lucikuhle Khoza, 18. All three have pleaded guilty to the murders and robberies.

Elizabeth Schutte was away when they attacked her husband and when she arrived home they seized, trussed, and gagged her and demanded a safe key. Despite co-operating and helpless she was also fatally stabbed.

The men will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Defence counsel Zena Anastasiou said their guilty plea indicated their remorse.

However, prosecutor Candy Kandar said if they were genuinely remorseful they would have surrendered to the police.

Kandar said their regret at their arrest should not be taken for remorse.

The KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union security desk's operator Koos Marais told the court that greed, the perception that farmers had money and firearms, and their vulnerability as a result of their isolation, were the main causes of attacks on farmers, their families, and staff.

As a result of frequent farm attacks farmers no longer sold produce on farms. Marais said farm attacks caused immense harm to the country and drove up living costs.

Skilled farmers emigrated and drops in production caused shortages which resulted in food being imported at great cost to the economy.

Sapa


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