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Son suffers setback, couple’s funeral delayed

Durban - The funeral of the Malvern couple who were shot and killed in a frenzied attack at a guest farm in Harrismith earlier this month was postponed indefinitely after their son, who is still in hospital after the attack, suffered a health setback.

Brian Pope, 63, and his wife Tillie, 47, were to be laid to rest on Wednesday after a service at the Kloof Harvest Church.

Brian Charles Pope and Matilda (Tillie) Ursula Pope, (not pictured. Credit: IINDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

They had been at the Tweevley Guest Farm for the Easter weekend with Brian’s son, Warren, his wife, Marlene, and their two children, aged one and four. The Popes were shot dead as they slept on April 20.

Warren, who tried to fight off the attacker, was beaten before being stabbed in the neck with a garden fork and left for dead. Marlene was hit in the head and her arm was broken. Their children were not harmed.

Pharaoh Mhone, 32, a Malawian national, who was a caretaker at the farm, has been charged with murder and attempted murder. The case has been adjourned until Tuesday.

Family member Ryno du Preez said Warren had appeared to be on his way to recovery and had been moved to a medical ward from ICU and the family thought he would be well enough to attend the funeral.

“His condition unfortunately worsened on Tuesday after his lungs filled with fluid.

“The doctors were very concerned, but today (Wednesday) he is getting better, but is still on oxygen,” he said.

Because Warren wanted to attend the funeral so that he could have closure, they were going to wait for him to be well enough to come to Durban after being discharged from hospital. “Marlene has been discharged and returned to Johannesburg on Tuesday to be with the children. She will, however, go back to the hospital to be with Warren,” he said.

The children had received counselling.

“They are now doing a lot better than they were. Marlene is a very strong woman and has remained strong throughout this ordeal, as hard as it has been. She has stitches on her forehead and a cast over her broken arm,” he said. - The Mercury

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