A teenager has been arrested in connection with the brutal murder of a frail 95-year-old Uitenhage woman last week. The 17-year-old has also been linked to two other cases, according to police.
The body of Maria Vermaak, who was described as soft-spoken, gentle, kind and friendly, was found on the floor of the living room in her Luyt Street home by a neighbour.
She had been strangled with a telephone cord. Anna Kemp, 67, who lives across the street from Vermaak and stumbled across the murder scene, said she was relieved that someone had been caught.
“I hope he faces the full might of the law,” she said. Kemp found Vermaak’s body at about 5.30pm on February 23 when she went over to take her a plate of food.
“I didn’t expect to see what I saw – it was terrible, something that I will never forget,” she said at the time.
Kemp had lived across the street from Vermaak for the past 20 years and had been taking her meals daily as she had become increasingly frail over the past three years.
“It was a terrible way for her to go [and] I am very bitter about it,” Kemp said. Her sister, Maria Jonker, 62, who lives with her, said Vermaak was very friendly.
“She would sit on her porch every day and greet anyone who walked past,” Jonker said.
The sisters said Vermaak had lived alone, barely had any visitors and never allowed strangers into her house. “I can’t understand why someone would do this,” Jonker said.
Police spokesman Sergeant Majola Nkohli said the teenager, who was arrested by Uitenhage police on Friday, would face rape and murder charges in court today.
Nkohli said the teenager would also face charges of housebreaking, robbery and theft.