Beloved gran dies after savage beating

Woman succumbs to injuries a month after attack

Ann Smit, 86, who died four weeks after being attacked in her Port Elizabeth home
Ann Smit, 86, who died four weeks after being attacked in her Port Elizabeth home
Image: supplied

The elderly Port Elizabeth woman who was bludgeoned with a hammer by two men in her Kamma Park home last month has died.

Ann Smit, 86, was found lying in a pool of blood in her house in Martha Street about four weeks ago.

She died in Greencares Hospital shortly before 9am yesterday from head injuries sustained in the assault.

Smit had been discharged from hospital about a week after the May 28 attack but was readmitted a few days later due to complications.

Police are still searching for her attackers.

Smit’s son, Andre, 59, of Alberton in Gauteng, said: “We noticed her condition deteriorate in recent weeks.

“She was readmitted to hospital a few days [after] her discharge.

“Over the past two weeks, her condition just started to deteriorate in hospital.”

Andre described his mother as a strong and resilient woman, who had raised six boys and was the grandmother of nine children.

“She was much loved and a very devoted mother,” he said.

“She has been a widow for 11 years and has been cared for by one of my brothers in Port Elizabeth.

“The family is spread out across the country and family members have been in and out of Port Elizabeth since the attack.

“Many have since left to go back home but managed to say their goodbyes earlier this week when her condition just got to such a bad state.”

Andre said more details had emerged since the attack.

“At the time, it was thought that the men had attacked her during a robbery.

“But we discovered later that she had actually heard the two men breaking into a neighbour’s house and had gone to investigate, which then led to the confrontation and attack inside her house.”

He said Smit had been bludgeoned with either the back of an axe or a hammer.

“This fractured her skull and caused other damage which, in time, resulted in her death.

“It is a very sad day for the family but we are coping.

“She was a strong and lively woman – loved by everyone who knew her.

Before this attack, she was in perfect health.”

He said the police were keeping the family updated on the search for the suspects.

“I hope that they will be caught before hurting anyone else,” he said.

“One can only hope and believe . . . they will be handed down a punishment that fits the crime of murder.”

Smit was found after Neighbourhood Watch patrol member Gerrit Koen – who lives in the same street – spotted two men scaling her perimeter wall and gave chase.

In the meantime, patroller Marco van Niekerk went to the house and found a semiconscious Smit lying in a pool of blood in the house.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said the case had now been changed to one of murder.

The suspects’ escape was captured on CCTV cameras.

Detectives also found an axe lying outside in the garden and a hammer inside the house.

Two weeks after the attack, police received a tip-off on the suspects’ whereabouts but failed to find them.

“The Trio Task team has been given the case to investigate,” Labans said.

The Walmer police station Trio Task Team investigates serious and violent crimes, such as murder and armed robbery, in the Walmer policing area.

Lorraine Neighbourhood Watch chairman Peter Graham said the community was shocked by Smit’s death.

“We are extremely saddened by the senseless loss of life,” he said.

“While the police seem to be making progress in the case, it is taking time.”

Smit’s funeral will be held at the NG Gemeente Church in Marne Avenue, Lorraine, at 2pm tomorrow.

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