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Family speaks out after ‘senseless’ Kwambo killings

A framed photohraph of Ann Strauss stands on a shelf in the home where she and husband, David, were brutally murdered. In the background, bowling trophies and photographs of her grandchildren bore testament to the love she had for her family
A framed photohraph of Ann Strauss stands on a shelf in the home where she and husband, David, were brutally murdered. In the background, bowling trophies and photographs of her grandchildren bore testament to the love she had for her family

POLICE are hot on the heels of a second suspect involved in the brutal murders of 76 and 73-year-old David and Ann Strauss at their KwaMbonambi home on Sunday.

This after the men entered the home late on Sunday afternoon with the intent to rob the elderly couple.

In the end they took not only their car, electronics, musical instruments and firearms, but the lives of both husband and wife at the keen edge of a knife blade.

After forensic examiners had come and gone, all that was left was a few bloodstains on the carpets and broken furniture, a testament to the violence that has ripped this family apart.

They are now left to pick up the pieces and find answers.

‘It’s senseless. Why, why would they beat an old, frail woman like my mother, and then kill her?’ asked daughter, Jenny Harrison.

David was beaten with a walking stick and stabbed as he struggled to get hold of his firearm in the safe inside his bedroom cupboard.

Ann, terribly frail and suffering from Alzheimer’s for the past five years, locked herself in a spare bedroom in a bid to escape her attackers.

They simply broke down the door, tied her up on the floor and beat her, before eventually she too was stabbed multiple times.

‘My parents had a daily routine. Every Sunday afternoon they would sit on the veranda and have a drink, and then phone all the daughters and grandchildren,’ said Harrison.

‘I got off the phone with them at around 5.20pm, so they must have been attacked just after. I arrived at the house and their half-full drinks were still standing on the porch tables.’

Jenny Harrison looks on as Ann Strauss is hugged by her sister, Pat Bryson

Jenny Harrison looks on as Ann Strauss is hugged by her sister, Pat Bryson

Torn Apart

Harrison sits on a worn brown couch in the living room of her parent’s home, going through a stack of photographs from a box on the coffee table.

The smell of pipe tobacco still lingers, a habit of David’s the family were still trying to break.

She pauses every now and then, identifying her brother or an aunt, an old blue Land Rover her father would spend a week fixing so that the family could go to the beach over the weekend.

‘My dad was the provider and the protector,’ she said. ‘He was always supportive and involved in the grandchildren and children’s lives.’

One of David’s favourite hobbies was playing the guitar and singing.

‘Whenever there was a braai the guitar would come out, and we would all have to sing,’ she said.

‘It was his thing.’

Ann was an avid bowler, and between her and David they earned many a trophy for their skill on the greens.

‘She was a ‘real mother’, she cared for everyone. She was so friendly, kind and compassionate,’ Jenny said.

‘She loved her kids and her animals were just like her kids as well. I have their little dog with me now.

‘When I got to the house on Monday he was so lost and confused. The police would not let me into the yard but it only took one call from the gate and he ran to me.

‘God only knows what he went through as well.’

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Ann and David Strauss pictured with Ann’s sister, Pat Bryson.

Police also told Jenny that the arrested suspect had admitted he had been involved in a previous break in at the Strauss home in December last year.

They beefed up security inside their home after the fact,sadly, it was in vain.

‘Police brought the guy they arrested around on Wednesday so he could walk them through the crime scene. From what he said, we gathered they had been hiding in the bushes in the yard.

‘I just wish we knew why they had to kill them.’

 

Murder manhunt

Police discovered the bodies at around 10am on Monday after being led to the Glendower Road home by one of the suspects, arrested driving David’s blue Nissan Almeira.

‘We received information that a house robbery suspect wanted for other crimes was traveling in a vehicle in the Kwambo area,’ said KwaMbonambi SAPS station commander, Major Bonginkosi Gumede.

‘We were told that he was armed.’

When police approached the vehicle, the wanted suspect fled, leaving his accomplice to face the long arm of the law.

‘Upon searching the second suspect, we found ID documents that did not belong to him as well as a number of household items and a firearm in his possession. When questioned, he admitted to robbing a house in Kwambo the night before.’

The suspect then led police to the Strauss’ home where they were confronted by the gruesome scene.

‘Post mortems will reveal the number of stab wounds and if there was any sexual assault,’ said Major Gumede.

He was charged with two counts of murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition and possession of property suspected to be stolen, and was scheduled to appear KwaMbonambi Magistrate’s Court today (Thursday).

A memorial service will be held for the couple at the Mtubatuba Methodist Church on Riverview Road at 2.30pm on Monday. There will be a gathering at the Mtuba Rugby Club after the service so that mourners may ‘celebrate their lives.’ 

  AUTHOR
Kyle Cowan
Journalist

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Ann Strauss (73) was murdered along with her husband David in their KwaMbonambi home on 18 January 2016. Photo - Kyle Cowan
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