The Herald (South Africa)

Peaceful hamlet rocked by murder

Elderly couple savagely attacked in Schoenies home

- Tremaine van Aardt aardtt@tisoblacks­

ACRITICALL­Y injured elderly woman managed to climb out of her bedroom window and alert a neighbour after she was viciously bludgeoned by robbers in her Schoenmake­rskop home early yesterday.

Seventy-eight-year-old Elaine Allwright’s partner, Ken Alexander, 76, was found dead in the kitchen a short while later by an Atlas security guard. He had been shot in the face. Allwright, who sustained severe head injuries, is fighting for her life in hospital.

The neighbour alerted by a badly bleeding Allwright shortly after midnight, contacted another resident, Rheta Taylor, who flagged down patrolling Neighbourh­ood Watch member Greg Kerr.

When Kerr pulled over he found Taylor and another resident sitting on the pavement, trying to staunch the bleeding from Allwright’s multiple head wounds.

He immediatel­y contacted the police, paramedics and Atlas Security Services.

An Atlas security guard who arrived moments later informed Kerr that Alexander’s body had been found in the kitchen. He had been shot several times. Allwright is in the intensive care unit at Life St George’s Hospital.

The popular couple have lived at the rustic coastal hamlet in Port Elizabeth for about 30 years.

Taylor said the sight of Allwright’s injuries and her screams of pain had sent shivers down her spine. “It was just so terrible.

“When I arrived, there she was sitting on the pavement covered in blood – it was horrible to see.

“They [robbers] could have taken everything in the house and left them, but to destroy their lives like this is unbelievab­le.

“There was just blood everywhere.

“Fortunatel­y, there was a patroller [Kerr] who had just turned into the street.

“It just shows how brazen these criminals are – to attack despite knowing people are patrolling.

“I still can’t believe she managed to climb out the window when I think what she looked like.

“Why do that to such elderly people? They can’t even defend themselves.

“These are good people – they are very involved in the Schoenies village arranging socials, fundraiser­s and all types of things.”

In his patroller’s report, Kerr said everyone was in shock and things were very confused when he stopped at the house.

“[I] phoned 10111 and got local police who said they would respond,” he said in the report.

“I asked for an ambulance and paramedics and she [police member] switched my call to ambulance services, but no one picked up.

“I then went into my house and pushed the panic button and Atlas [Security] then dispatched its response team, an ambulance and paramedics.

“We later got informatio­n regarding Elaine’s condition – critical, multiple skull fractures and bleeding into the brain.

“She has not been informed of her partner’s death.”

Schoenmake­rskop resident Martin Weihs, who had rushed to the hospital to monitor Allright’s condition, then had to pay a deposit so she could be admitted.

Atlas Security Services operations manager Monty Montgomery said: “When our staff inspected the scene, we saw by the blood on the window that she [Allwright] had escaped through there.

“I am still not sure how she was able to climb out of the bedroom window in the state she was in.

“When we checked the pulse of the man [Alexander], he was already gone.”

Asked about a recent spike in crime in the Schoenmake­rskop area, Montgomery said: “It is not only in that area.

“There has been a spike in crime across Port Elizabeth over the last few weeks, especially in terms of house and armed robberies.”

Schoenmake­rskop resident and community watch chairman Andre Lemmer, who has lived in the area since 1990, said the popular couple had lived in the area for at least 30 years.

“We have actually been very lucky when it comes to crime in this area,” he said.

“About three years ago, we noticed more frequent break-ins but nobody was hurt.

“However, it encouraged us to start the neighbourh­ood watch.

“Since then, it had been relatively quiet until about the last three or four weeks, when we have had a number of break-ins in the area.

“And now this attack, which is definitely one of the worst,” Lemmer said.

“It is very concerning and we will be sitting down again to plot the next course of action – whether that be extra patrols or cameras, but something needs to be done.

“We can’t allow our residents to continue living in fear.”

“She [Allwright] had to climb out of the window to escape, while they [robbers] ransacked the house.

“And then, on top of that, St George’s [Hospital] required R85 000 to treat her, so Martin Weihs paid a deposit of R30 000 which we as a community will have to fundraise to repay.”

Police spokeswoma­n Colonel Priscilla Naidu said: “Attacks on the elderly are a serious concern for the police, which is committed to ensuring that all people, including this vulnerable group in society are, and feel, safe.

She said Walmer detectives were searching for the attackers.

They could have taken everything in the house and left them, but to destroy their lives like this is unbelievab­le

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Pictures: SUPPLIED
 ?? Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI ?? CRIME SCENE: The house in Schoenmake­rskop in which the vicious attack occurred
Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI CRIME SCENE: The house in Schoenmake­rskop in which the vicious attack occurred
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