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Pietermaritzburg - A Himeville farmer was battered to death while his woman friend was tied to the pedestal of a wash basin, the Pietermaritzburg High Court heard on Monday.

Three men accused of murder and aggravated robbery, Tsipiso Ramonyane, 30, Bonginkosi Nyewose, 33, and Happy Gcina, 24, appeared before Judge Jerome Mnguni.

They would remain in custody until Tuesday when the case would resume.

The State alleges that Daniel Knight was bound and gagged and battered with a 4.5kg hammer, while his friend, Dilys Bucher, was also tied up and gagged.

Bucher later managed to escape.

They were attacked at night in their Himeville home in KwaZulu-Natal last October.

It was alleged that the men, from the nearby district of Bulwer, hid in a forest until nightfall. The State alleged that the accused planned the invasion believing that Knight had money in his home to pay wages.

The three men are accused of stealing money, two vehicles, and other items, such as firearms and knives.

They were not asked to plead.