Anton Marx had had plenty of warning that Paul Meyer was out to get him for failing to pay him rent money - but because he thought Meyer was a mild-mannered man, he had not taken the threats seriously.

Instead, it seems, Meyer took out his frustration and anger on others. Last Wednesday he went to the Albertville house he had rented - and was sub-letting - and murdered nearly everyone who lived there: his girlfriend Cindy Jeffrey and her mother Linda van Rooyen, Marx's girlfriend Rosanne Lamb, and another tenant, Rudi Niemann. Only Marx and Lamb's baby son, Ricardo, were spared.

It was the start of a killing spree that included Meyer's own wife and two young daughters, and which ended last Friday when Meyer committed suicide as Kroonstad police closed in on him.

Even though Meyer lived in Delarey with his family, he apparently also lived with Jeffrey - hence his rental of the Albertville home. But he was also in financial trouble and relied on the tenants there to come up with the rent.

"Those bullets were meant for me, " said an emotional Marx, who told Saturday Star he had known Meyer for a year, and had viewed him as a "good, soft-spoken guy".

Marx paid Lamb's rent, but had fallen into arrears amounting to R1 600. Twice in the week before the murders, Meyer had arrived at Marx's home in Newlands and threatened to kill him if he did not pay up.

"I thought he was joking when he said: 'If you don't pay my money, you will never see your wife and your child alive again.'

"I did not take him seriously because I did not know him as a violent person. He was so quiet that he wouldn't harm a fly.

"I tried to explain that I would pay everything at the end of the month. I thought he would calm down," Marx said. "He then came to my home and told my mother: 'When I am finished with your son there won't be a trace'.

"The following day Cindy came and apologised. She warned me to pay the money as soon as I could.

"I promised to pay him. I explained I had switched from a weekly to a monthly payment."

On Wednesday Marx fell ill and a doctor authorised sick leave for him. When he arrived home, he encountered police who told him of the Albertville murders. He did not immediately connect the murders with Meyer - but then he was not aware that Meyer had gone to his workplace that morning, looking for him.

"I did not think of Paul's threats at that time because I was not thinking straight. I thought it was a robbery. I only realised when Paul phoned me (on Wednesday afternoon) and said 'It's you next'.

"I got the shock of my life. I did not believe he could do such a thing to innocent people. I got very angry and started looking for him. I did not not give a damn whether he met me and killed me. I told myself if I came across him I would fight with all my might.

"I did not have a gun or any weapon. I would have killed him with my bare hands, I swear. I am not good in fighting but when I start fighting I don't stop until I win. I would have used my boxing skills.

"He killed Rosanne because he wanted to get at me. He knew she was my life, my joy and everything," Marx added.

Police later convinced him to "lie low", and he realised he had his young son to think about.

"Unfortunately he committed suicide. I wanted to ask him why he killed innocent people because he wanted to get at me. I would have sacrificed my life for Rosanne. I wish I was with her now, I know she needs me.

"I will never forget that day. I want to keep all the newspapers so that I can explain to my boy it was not my fault. I can't even begin to describe the pain I am going through, but I am being strong just for his sake."

Marx and Lamb had planned to settle down soon, but their dreams were also cut down by Meyer's bullets. "We had planned to get married in July and be a family. But that was never to be - maybe it was God's will. I have precious memories; they will remain with me for the rest of my life."