Daily News

Two ar­rested in connection with Ash­bur­ton man’s slay­ing

- YOGAS NAIR and SHERLISSA PETERS

TWO sus­pects, in­clud­ing a con­victed killer and rapist out on pa­role, have been ar­rested for the mur­der of a re­tired fire­man and the at­tempted mur­der of his girl­friend at their Ash­bur­ton home last month.

The vic­tim, Ron­ald Drake, 69, had been sit­ting on the ve­ran­dah read­ing his bi­ble and his part­ner, Pat Sem­pel, was inside the house when they were at­tacked by two armed rob­bers.

Sha­heen Suleiman, of Magma Security, the com­pany that made the ini­tial ar­rest on Wed­nes­day night, together with the SAPS provin­cial task team, said the rob­bers got into a scuf­fle with Drake and stabbed him more than five times.

“They then at­tacked his part­ner. She was choked and as­saulted,” Suleiman said.

“The sus­pects ran­sacked the house and took sev­eral valu­ables. It is be­lieved they fled when they were dis­turbed by a knock on the front door.”

Police spokes­woman Lieu­tenant Joey Jee­van said the SAPS KwaZu­luNatal Provin­cial Task Team Unit, with the help of a security com­pany, went to a taxi rank in the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg city cen­tre yes­ter­day where they ar­rested a 42-year-old male sus­pect.

“Police were led to the taxi rank af­ter in­for­ma­tion was re­ceived. The sus­pect was found in pos­ses­sion of two cel­lu­lar phones and var­i­ous cloth­ing items, be­lieved to have been stolen dur­ing the armed rob­bery and mur­der at Drake’s premises,” Jee­van said.

Early yes­ter­day police were led to a house in Ge­orgedale in Ham­mars­dale, where they ar­rested an­other 19-yearold male sus­pect.

A flat-screen tele­vi­sion, a pair of binoc­u­lars and cloth­ing, also be­lieved to have been stolen dur­ing the at­tack, were found inside the house.

A knife, be­lieved to be the mur­der weapon, was also re­cov­ered from the 19-year-old sus­pect.

The sus­pects will make a court ap- pear­ance in the Cam­per­down Mag­is­trate’s Court today.

Drake’s son-in-law, By­ron Ort­wood, wel­comed the ar­rests and said his - fam­ily, in­clud­ing Drake’s three daugh­ters, felt emo­tional re­lief at the news.

“This was a sense­less and bru­tal at­tack,” he said. “We just pray his killers are put be­hind bars in the next few days.”

Ort­wood said his fa­ther-in-law was well loved in the com­mu­nity and had of­fered reg­u­lar as­sis­tance to local shel­ters and the fire depart­ment.

“He was re­tired, but he loved the job,” he said. “We want to thank Magma Security and the police for giv­ing us some clo­sure.”

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