Two arrested in connection with Ashburton man’s slaying
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.”