Farm-attack victim remembers vicious assault

BARBERTON –  James Munro, founder of Nelspruit Swimming Academy and a computer expert in Mbombela, was ambushed by four armed men in his home on his farm, Ncandusi, a few kilometres outside town on Sunday morning.

Albert de Beer and Dorethy Venables, Munro’s friends, were also in the house when the attack happened.

Earlier that night Munro and De Beer had been watching the Castle Lager Rugby Championship encounter between the Springboks and Argentina at Arkansas Spur at the Westend centre in Mbombela, after which they went home.

Read: Man killed and two assaulted during farm attack

De Beer fell asleep on the couch and Venables was in another room.
In the early hours of Sunday morning the assailants gained entrance through the kitchen window.
Munro owns a Dobermann pinscher and two miniature Dobermann pinschers. The dogs were sleeping with him in his room.

He was woken by an intruder’s hand on his shoulder.

“I assume that they used Spray & Cook through the ventilators to sedate us. As I opened my eyes one of the men were aiming a snub-nose .38 special revolver at me. He pulled the trigger. I stood up and hit him as hard as I could. I could see the fear in his eyes. He kept moving backwards towards the lounge. I felt another man hitting me from behind. By that time the one suspect had already pulled the trigger twice,” Munro told Lowvelder yesterday morning, at Ncandusi.
Munro ran to the front door where he saw De Beer tied up on the couch with Venables next to him.

He ran to open the Trellidor, but failed.

“I screamed as hard as I could whereafter they fled through the kitchen window. As they climbed through the window I pushed the panic button. About 15 minutes later Hi-Tech Barberton and the police arrived at the scene,” said Munro.
Venables who has been working for Munro since March, had been dragged from her room to the lounge. She was not tied up.

Also read: Assault and terror after farm murder

“The one man tried to sexually assault me. I will never forget his face. He put his hand over my mouth and pulled a blanket over my face. I could hear the trigger of the gun and James screaming, ‘Why do you want to kill me?’ I didn’t know what they wanted to do with me,” said Venables.
The four men fled with two laptops, a cellphone and a DVD player.

According to owner of Hi-Tech Security Barberton, Sakkie Dednam, they could not find any trail of the suspects.

“There was no trace of the men. Whether they fled through the bush back to the R40 and a car awaited them, I cannot tell. We did find a knife and a towel in the bush though,” said Dednam.

Munro sustained severe injuries to the back of his head and a blow to his left cheekbone.
Four people were killed in farm attacks countrywide over the weekend, according to TLU SA.
Farmer Anton Smuts (64) was killed on his farm near Kinross in Mpumalanga. Lodge owner Arno Niehaus (53) was strangled near Maanhaarrand in North West. Piet van Zyl (69) and his wife Tilla (66) were killed on their farm in the Immerpan area in Limpopo.

• Stefan de Villiers reports that a well-known couple living on a farm between Klipkopje and Da Gama dams, were also attacked by an unknown number of suspects last week. It is alleged that the suspects entered the premises in the early hours of last Monday. Though it is unclear what exactly transpired, Dian Pretorius from AfriForum Neighbourhood Watch, who attended to the scene, said Louis Arthur was awoken by his dogs barking profusely. “He went outside to investigate, when he was ambushed by the suspects,” said Pretorius.

Pieter Kruger of MTO Forests, who also visited the scene, said the suspects apparently went at him with an unknown object, fracturing his collarbone.

Lesley Barbeau, Arthur’s partner, apparently fired shots after which the suspects fled the scene. This could, however, not be confirmed by either Hazyview or White River police stations. Both victims declined to speak to Lowvelder about the incident.

Carli Koch

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