Durban - There was a moment as Beth Bucher was being beaten and choked when she recognised the glove on her attacker’s hand as he forced it down her throat. It was the same kind her partner, Dan Knight, who had just been killed with a hammer, bought for his staff.
In the lounge of the couple’s Underberg farmhouse, Knight, 55, had been beaten with a hammer and as Bucher, 60, was dragged from the bathroom to the bedroom, she saw his lifeless body on the floor.
This emerged in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday where the suspected killers are on trial for Knight’s murder.
Tsepiso Ramonyane, 20, Bonginkosi Nyawose, 33, and Happy Gcina, 24, have all pleaded not guilty, saying they were not at the scene on October 17.
It has not emerged in court yet if any of the men worked for Knight.
Although only three men are on trial, Bucher said she thought five men had been on the farm that night.
She told how her hands and feet were bound, a gun was shoved down her throat and a surgical glove from her first aid kit was tied around her nose and mouth.
The couple had a firewood business and had lived on Outlook Farm for 18 years. Since the attack, Bucher has left the farm and is living with her children.
At 6.30pm, on the night before Knight’s birthday, the couple were having supper in the lounge, while discussing what to prepare for their guests the next day.
Bucher heard a noise and the scullery door opened.
Men wearing balaclavas and dark clothing ran in, one carrying a spanner and a firearm.
“A man jumped on top of me and pushed me over. As that happened, I saw three other people jump on to Dan and one of them shouted: ‘Dan Knight, we are here to kill you. We are here to kill both of you. You must give us your money and firearms.’ Dan called out, in Zulu, and they were speaking in Zulu.”
They kicked Knight, demanding money. Bucher’s hands and feet were bound with cable ties. A curtain tie-back was tied around her neck and pulled to her ankles.
The men hit Knight with the weapons they had, including a knife and hammer.
He offered to write them a cheque for the amount they wanted, which angered them, and they kicked him again.
One of the men ransacked the kitchen and said: “Auntie, where is your vodka?” But, she said, they had only wine and beer.
Bucher was then carried to the bathroom and dropped on the floor. Three men were with her and they closed the door. She feared she would be raped.
“I shouted for Dan. One man with the pistol hit me on the head and said: ‘Auntie, shut up,’ and pushed his hand down my throat.”
Then she saw the glove. The man took his fist out of her mouth and pushed in a pistol, again demanding money and guns.
She said there was no money at the house, the safe was in the outbuilding and she did not know where the keys were kept.
Bucher was taken downstairs and she saw the men wrapping the television set and DVD player in a duvet. The others were taking food from the kitchen and putting it in luggage bags.
She was then taken to the bathroom where she was kicked and slapped again.
She was tied to the wash basin pedestal.
When Bucher thought they were gone she freed herself and jumped out of the bathroom window.
She went back into the house.
She checked Knight’s pulse and realised that he was dead.
The trial continues.