DURBAN 23-05-2012 Lauren Michel (daughter), left, consoles her father Alek Hoile as they enter his Glenmoore home after his wife's body, Margaret was removed by crime scene police. It is believed that she was attacked and killed. Picture: S'bonelo Ngcobo

Police have launched a manhunt for a man who attacked and killed a 73-year-old woman with an axe at her home in the Durban suburb of Glenmore yesterday.

Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Mdunge said an axe, believed to be the murder weapon, was found in the house of the victim, Margaret Hoile.

“The motive for the murder is unknown at this stage and the police are investigating reports that two cellphones were stolen from the house,” he said.

It is believed that Hoile was in the front garden when the man entered the property, presuming that nobody was home.

Sources told The Mercury that the house appeared to have been ransacked. Hoile’s husband, Alec, 79, was not home.

Scores of policemen and neighbours gathered outside the home soon afterwards.

Hoile’s son Gary, 47, daughter Lauren Michel, 49, and their father consoled and comforted each other outside the home yesterday.

Gary Hoile told The Mercury he was in shock and could not believe that his mother had died in such a manner.

“I had dinner with her and Dad on Monday night and (then) I receive a call from medics, telling me to rush over to her house,” he said.

“It is devastating for any family to lose a loved one.”

Michel, who last saw her mother last weekend, said she received a call from police and medics telling her to “urgently” come to her mother’s house.

“They (police and medics) would not tell me what happened when I asked. I had to come to the house,” she said.

“I was planning to see her soon and now she has been taken away from me.”