The car found in dense bush near a graveyard in Molweni.

‘Please don’t kill us,” begged a Phoenix mother and her step-daughter but the two suspects, one who police believe is the woman’s son, ignored their cries and continued to beat, strangle and stab them until there was no more resistance.

In the early hours of Friday, the 55-year-old woman’s nieces (aged 12 and 15), who were asleep in the adjacent room, were awoken by the two women’s futile pleas for mercy.

Trembling with fear, the teenage girls hid in a wardrobe.

“They wouldn’t stop beating these wonderful women in spite of their pleas,” said a neighbour, who did not want to be named. The suspects allegedly then wrapped the two women in blankets, dragged them to the woman’s car and loaded them into the boot before driving off.

After an intensive search that lasted about 10 hours, the police found the car in bush near a graveyard in Molweni.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said the two suspects, one of whom is known to the family, were still at large.

“The women were asleep when the suspects attacked but the motive for the killings is not known,” said Naicker.

The older woman, a teacher at a school in Ndwedwe, was found in the back seat of the car while her step-daughter was found in the driver’s seat.

A police source who preferred not be named, said: “The woman’s face was covered with blood and she had marks around her neck which are consistent with strangulation. The one at the front of the car had a gash in her neck which was probably inflicted with a sharp object and she also had strangulation marks around her neck.

“I think the suspects placed the women’s bodies in the car and tried to force it down an embankment to make it seem like their car had crashed, but the vehicle got caught up in the thick bush.”

A resident of Brookdale who spoke to the Sunday Tribune on condition of anonymity, alleges that the son was angry at being asked to leave the house by his mother two weeks ago.

The source said: “The woman’s husband owned six taxis but he died earlier this year and the responsibility of keeping the business going fell to the wife, while the step-daughter took care of the day-to-day affairs and the son drove one of the taxis.

“The son is a ‘whoonga’ addict and stayed in a drug rehabilitation facility in 2011. He couldn’t kick the habit and continued to use the drug after his father died.

“His mother was fed up with his drug habit and his neglecting his work. She asked him to leave the house.”

The informant said the son was not happy because she cut off his only source of income. On Thursday the son was seen by members of the community washing his mother’s car and later that evening he was in the vicinity of the home.

“News of the women’s death only surfaced when the taxi drivers arrived for work. When they peered through the bedroom window they saw the room was covered in blood. They had to break down the front door to gain entry; the children were too scared to come out of the wardrobe.

“The woman was a kindhearted person who was respected in the area.

“Whenever people in this area had a problem, they went to her and she always had a solution. We are going to miss her.”

A man who has known the family for almost 20 years said they had a close bond.

“Their entire family knew them to be a closely knit family. These killings come as a huge shock,” he said.

l Naicker appealed to members of the public who are able to assist with investigations to contact the head of SAPS Phoenix’s detective branch, Major Zinkosi Madikane on 073 295 7755, at 031 508 2328 or on the Crime Stop number (0860 010 111). - Sunday Tribune