London -

A British engineer was murdered and his wife brutally beaten at their remote South African farm by robbers who took just £210 (about R3 000) cash and a cellphone.

Chris Preece, 54, who made his home there after “falling in love with the country” was hacked to death in his kitchen by a gang with machetes. His wife Felicity, 56, was stabbed and hit with a pole, fracturing her skull.

She survived a 12-hour wait for help by treating her own wounds.


Preece, originally from Southgate, north London, was attacked at about 7pm as he went to take his seven dogs for a walk at his farm near Ficksburg, on the Lesotho border.

The gang killed him, then attacked his wife. “Because the gang had cut the telephone wires and there is no mobile phone reception, she couldn’t get help,” said friend and neighbour Gavin Hoole. “It was only the next morning, at around 7am, that anyone realised something was wrong.”

Preece’s South African daughter-in-law Jeanne Preece said he had come to the country in 1995 to work as a geotechnical engineer with diamond firm De Beers.

“He fell in love with South Africa from day one,” she said on Monday.

Last year he was made principal geotechnical engineer for rival mining firm Snowden in Johannesburg.

He would drive 200 miles home to his wife every weekend. The couple kept horses and were in he process of transforming the farm into a nature reserve with cheetahs and birds of prey.


Felicity Preece was said to be in a “stable but traumatised state” in hospital. - Daily Mail