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Suspect in axe killings arrested

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The man who allegedly hacked members of his family to death at their home in Douglas has been arrested. Picture: Danie Van der Lith

Kimberley - A man, who allegedly hacked several family members to death with a metre-long axe in Douglas, was arrested on Sunday, more than a month after the murders.

He was arrested on the town’s golf course.

The 53-year-old man allegedly went into a killing frenzy, chopping off the head of his 19-year-old nephew, Ferdinand Langeveldt, while he was sleeping in his bedroom before also hacking the teenager’s mother, Hendrika Langeveldt, 40, to death.

Northern Cape police spokeswoman, Colonel Patricia Naidu, said that the man, who quickly became known as the “axe murderer”, was found lying on the golf course next to the Vaal River in the town.

“He was physically in a weak state and was also dehydrated,” she said.

Naidu pointed out that the man was spotted by a worker at the golf course who then contacted the police.

“He has been admitted to a hospital in Douglas and would be transferred to the Kimberley Hospital tomorrow (Monday) where he is expected to remain under police guard,” Naidu said.

Police and members of the community have been searching for the axe-murderer since March 5 after the brutal murders.

She added that since the suspect was not likely to appear in court within 48 hours of being arrested because of his physical condition, he was most likely to be charged in absentia and then the case would be postponed until he has recovered.

“He will be charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder,” Naidu added.

Sources said that the man also had mosquito bites all over his body.

“He must have had some sort of support from some people in the community because he would not have survived this long without food and water,” they said.

On Sunday Northern Cape Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Janet Basson thanked the community of Douglas for assisting the police in arresting the man.

“Since the incident members of the community have been continuously informing the police regarding the possible whereabouts of the suspect. They were the eyes and ears of the police. This is what community policing is all about, working together towards a common goal and that is to ensure a safe and secure environment for all,” Basson added.

The DFA has learnt that the police’s “Tracking Team”, which normally operates undercover, played a crucial role in tracking down the suspect.

The man’s family on Sunday breathed a sigh of relief at the news that he had been arrested.

“We are all relieved as a family. We will now be able to continue with our lives as normal. Before he was apprehended, we were living in fear,” the suspect’s brother, Charles Langeveldt, said.

The family had been under police protection since the murders of Hendrika and her son.

“I’m so thrilled that I can finally have my life back. I’m going back to school. I miss my friends and my teachers,” Henrietta Langeveldt said.

Henrietta is the niece of the alleged killer and she managed to escape unharmed during the night of March 5, when her uncle allegedly went on his killing spree.

The man also struck his 80-year-old mother, Minah Langeveldt, several times with the weapon and she had to be hospitalised as a result of her injuries.

The residents of Douglas also welcomed the man’s arrest saying that “our march to the police was worth it”.

“I’m pleased for the sake of the Langeveldt family that they can now continue with their lives,” family friend, Peter Maree, said.

“Our children can now start playing in the streets again without us worrying about the axe murderer. We now feel safer as a community knowing a suspect is in police custody,” residents added.

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