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Durban - Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of Eston sugar farmer Mickey Hampson last month.
The weekend arrests came in the wake of a spate of farm killings in the province and have been hailed by the community as a victory for those affected by farm attacks.
One of the suspects was arrested on his way to Gauteng early on Sunday and the other in KwaMakhutha on the South Coast on Sunday night.
The arrests followed intensive investigations and joint efforts by Pietermaritzburg investigative company Magma Private Security and Investigation, a wing of Magma Security, the Mid-Illovo police and the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit.
Magma chief executive Shaheen Suleiman confirmed that retired Pietermaritzburg murder and robbery unit detective Swami Pillay had also played a major role in the arrests.
“Something had to be done about these farm killings. My team and I took it upon ourselves to get involved and we worked around the clock to solve the Hampson murder,” Suleiman said.
He said an excellent network of informers assisted them in following up on a lead that led them to the first suspect.
“We received information that one of the main suspects in the murder was heading for Gauteng. We tracked him down to a minibus taxi and apprehended him just outside Gauteng at around 3am on Sunday.”
The suspect led Magma to a house in KwaMakhutha where they arrested the second man and found several items believed to have been stolen in housebreakings in the Folweni, KwaMakhutha and Amanzimtoti areas.
Hampson was murdered on September 27 when he and his son Murray confronted two men who were trespassing on their farm.
According to Suleiman, the Hampsons were talking to a group of workers when they realised two of the men were not their employees.
Hampson instructed them to get into the back of his bakkie and was in the process of driving them off the farm when tragedy struck.
Murray was sitting in the back of the bakkie with the men when he saw, too late, that one of them was armed.
“He jumped off the bakkie and shouted to his father to drive away, but the men fired shots as he tried to drive off,” Suleiman said.
Hampson died at the scene.
The family said last night that they are overjoyed at the arrests. “Although it won’t bring our dad back it does bring some sort of closure.”
The family heaped praised on Magma Private Investigations for the role they played in the arrests. “We are very grateful.”
Midlands farmer Daniel Keegan said the arrests had come at a time when the farming community was being targeted by ruthless criminals. “We hope police and private investigators like Magma continue to support us in our war on criminals.”