The Herald (South Africa)

East Cape cat­tle farmer stabbed to death

- Gareth Wil­son wilsong@times­me­ South Africa News · Crime · Incidents · Middelburg · Facebook · Queenstown · Doornkop

AN Eastern Cape cat­tle farmer was stabbed to death on his farm be­tween Cradock and Hofmeyr in a brazen at­tack at the week­end.

His wife and two daugh­ters from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage re­ceived “flesh wounds”. Two men, both in their early 20s, have been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the mur­der.

Oc­to­ge­nar­ian Louis Traut, who owns sev­eral farms and properties in the Free State and Eastern Cape, was stabbed re­peat­edly in the chest on the farm Doornkop, about 15km from Hofmeyr, on Sun­day night.

Out­raged farm­ers con­demned the at­tack and called for the killers to re­ceive the max­i­mum penalty.

The at­tack hap­pened shortly af­ter 8pm. Po­lice were alerted two hours later af­ter one of the women man­aged to un­tie her­self and run to a farm man­ager’s house.

The sus­pects were ar­rested a few hours later af­ter po­lice spot­ted a ve­hi­cle stolen from the farm aban­doned at the side of the road about 100km from Mid­del­burg.

Firearms stolen from the farm were also al­legedly found in their pos­ses­sion.

Po­lice spokes­woman Cap­tain Stephanie Smith said the three al­leged rob­bers kicked down the back door, stormed in­side and stabbed Traut sev­eral times in the chest. He died at the scene.

“The men kept on de­mand­ing to know where the safe and firearms were. His wife Coleen, 48, and daugh­ters Louisa, 50, and Mariska, 45, sus­tained su­per­fi­cial stab wounds for which they were taken to the Cradock hos­pi­tal for treat­ment,” she said.

Smith said af­ter the po­lice were alerted, the K9 unit combed the bushes while other units searched the streets for the stolen ve­hi­cle.

As the news of the mur­der spread, farm­ers from the sur­round­ing farms joined in the search for the at­tack­ers.

Po­lice said the sus­pects were from the Hofmeyr area.

Friends of the Traut fam­ily ex­pressed shock at the bru­tal mur­der on the town’s Face­book page.

They de­scribed Traut as a man who “let peo­ple shine”.

An­other woman called Traut her “other fa­ther”, and wished the at­tack­ers a slow, painful death.

The three women were stay­ing with friends in Hofmeyr yes­ter­day while po­lice gath­ered ev­i­dence at the farm.

Agri Eastern Cape pres­i­dent Ernest Pringle said farm safety was a ma­jor prob­lem in the ru­ral farm­ing area. “We are ex­tremely

happy that the po­lice man­aged to ar­rest two of the rob­bers and con­grat­u­late them on a job well done,” he said.

“The bru­tal mur­der is a tremen­dous shock to Hofmeyr and the neigh­bour­ing towns.”

Cradock clus­ter com­man­der Bri­gadier Madoda Zamkana said the quick ar­rests were the re­sult of good po­lice work.

Traut’s mur­der comes just two weeks af­ter the body of Queen­stown farmer Dud­ley Buss, 67, was found stuffed into a freezer. A sus­pect was ar­rested days later.

The Traut mur­der sus­pects are due to ap­pear in the Hofmeyr Mag­is­trate’s Court on Thurs­day on charges of mur­der, at­tempted mur­der, rob­bery and the il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of firearms.

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