By Lumka Oliphant and Lindi Van Rooyen

Paul Johannes Meyer may have been torn between two women in the tortured last days of his life. Meyer put a .357 magnum revolver barrel in his mouth on Friday morning, pulled the trigger and blew his head apart.

He is believed to have killed the two women who loved him - his wife, Adriana and his girlfriend, Cindy Jeffrey.

For some reason known only to his twisted soul, he also killed another five people in an orgy of carnage which shocked even hardened Joburg cops. He first shot Jeffrey, 21, and her mother, Linda van Rooyen, and turned the gun on Rosanne Lamb, 19, before slaying Rudolph Niemann, 53, a tenant at the house.

Later he collected Adriana and his children Monica, nine, and Vicky, four, and checked the family into a Robertsham hotel. Early on Thursday morning, he shot Adriana and the girls before fleeing.

Shocked friends were still trying to come to terms with the slayings, but it emerged that one of the traumatic areas in his life was his relationships with Adriana and Cindy.

Said one woman whose husband had known Meyer since primary school: "Maybe this is what happens when you are married and have a girlfriend - possibly Cindy was putting pressure on him to leave his wife."

She and close friends believe that Meyer had not divorced Adriana as had been reported in the media. Nor were they were aware he had become "engaged" to Cindy.

"As far as I know he was not divorced at all," one woman said.

If anything, people believed Meyer and Adriana were reconciling. A woman said she had recently met Adriana, who had said she and Meyer were "getting back together".

Others said they were stunned that Meyer could have killed his little girls, because they "meant the world to him."

One of Paul's friends, who did not want to be identified, said she "could not imagine Paul killing his children" because he loved them.

The killing spree started on Wednesday morning when Meyer arrived at the house where Jeffrey was staying in Albertville.

After sending the domestic worker out on an errand, Meyer shot and killed Jeffrey, Rosanne Lamb, Linda van Rooyen and Rudolf Jacobus Niemann. Baby Ricardo Marx, Lamb's four-month-old son, was spared, and was found shortly after the shootings by a domestic worker.

That evening Meyer checked himself, his wife and his two children into a hotel. Early the next morning he killed them in their sleep, shooting them in the head with his pistol, as he had done in Albertville.

Police said after the Thursday morning slaughter, they had made Meyer the chief suspect and warned the public not to approach him because he was believed to be armed with a number of weapons, including the .357 magnum, a 9mm pistol and an automatic rifle.

Police also said they had taken Anton Marx, father of baby Ricardo, into safe custody, fearing that Meyer might have been hunting for him to be his eighth victim. Meyer reportedly phoned Marx after the first murders and warned him he would be next.

The search for the alleged killer ended yesterday morning in Kroonstad in the Free State.

Captain Rosa Benade, spokesperson for the SAPS in Free State, said Meyer was spotted by a member of the public at 11.15 on Friday morning. She said Meyer was parked on the northern side of the Vals River. "Our members tracked him down and found him parked near the river. They wrestled with him and were able to get the gun but he got it back again, rammed it back in his mouth and pulled the trigger," said Benade.

She said Meyer was taken to Boitumelo Hospital where he was certified dead on arrival, and they managed to trace the car to a PJ Niemann, "possibly one of his victims."

Serial killer expert Superintendent Piet Byleveld said police did not know what sparked the killing orgy, because Meyer had "no history of violence other than the odd outburst like normal people have. And especially not towards his family."

Police were investigating the possibility that Meyer had been using drugs. They also reported that he had recently been fired from the two companies he worked for in Joburg.

  • Botho Molosankwe reports that Meyer's brother-in-law, Jacques Malan, described him as "a big strong man with a small heart who loved his wife and kids but got involved with the wrong crowd which turned him into a maniac."

    Malan is trying to arrange for the entire family - Paul, Adriana and the children - to be buried together. He offered his deepest sympathy to the other families and said he wanted to remember only good things about the victims.