The horror rape and murder of a “kind and gentle” 95-year-old Uitenhage woman, who would sit on her porch and greet passersby, has left her neighbours and close friends reeling.
The body of the woman – who appeared to have been strangled with a telephone cord – was found on the living room floor of her central area home late on Thursday afternoon by her neighbour, who had been making her meals for the past three years.
There was no forced entry and police are still trying to establish a motive and whether anything was taken from the house.
The murdered woman is not being named as she was also a rape victim.
Anna Elizabeth Kemp, 67, who lives across the road, said she had gone to take dinner to her neighbour when she discovered her body.
“At about 5.30pm I went to her house and knocked on the door. After I knocked a few times and she didn’t answer I sent my grandson to check if the back door was open. When he called me, I knew something was wrong,” a tearful Kemp said.
At first Kemp thought her neighbour may have suffered a heart attack “because I knew she took pills for her heart”.
But Kemp said when she looked through the open back door and saw her neighbour lying on the lounge floor, she immediately knew there was something wrong.
“I didn’t expect to see what I saw. It was terrible, something that I will never forget”.
Kemp said she had known the victim, described as a kind, friendly and frail person, for about 20 years after the elderly woman moved to the neighbourhood from her farm in Kuils River.
“She never did anyone wrong, she wouldn’t even hurt a fly.
“I loved her very much. On Sundays I would go over there and spend the day with her and listen to the stories she would tell about her life.”
According to Kemp, her neighbour had told her that she wished to die in her sleep and did not want to be a burden on anyone in her old age. “It was a terrible way for her to go [and] I am very bitter about it.”
Kemp’s sister, Maria Louisa Jonker, 62, who has been living with Kemp for the past four years, said it was the most heinous thing she could think of to happen to anyone.
“She was always so friendly. Every day she would sit on her porch, wave and greet anyone who walked past.”
According to the sisters, the victim, who lived alone, barely had any visitors and never allowed strangers into her house.
“She has two sons, one lives in Cape Town and the other in Pretoria or Johannesburg, but only the older one would visit occasionally,” Kemp said.
“She was soft-spoken, gentle, kind and friendly. I can’t understand why someone would do this,” Jonker said.
The murder remains a mystery as nothing appears to be missing from the house and there were no signs of a struggle.
When Weekend Post visited the house yesterday, a police forensics vehicle was parked outside and the entire street corner where the house stands was closed off with police tape.
Police spokesman Sergeant Majola Nkohli said the victim had last been seen around lunchtime on Thursday. He said it appeared she had been raped and then strangled.
“At this stage the motive remains unknown and nothing appears to be missing. Because the woman lived by herself, we will ask family members to assess the household contents at a later stage to determine if they might see something that has been stolen.”
Nkohli said there were no signs of forced entry.
“Our forensic experts have taken samples from the scene and we are hoping to have more answers on what exactly transpired.”
Nkohli urged anyone with information to contact Detective Warrant Officer Jacques Nell at (041) 996-4581.