Three arrested for ‘robbery’ after gruesome farm murders

stopfarmattacksIn a joint operation between Richmond SAPS, Crime Intelligence, K9 Unit, HAWKS and Magma Security and Investigations three black suspects were arrested for the murder of three members of a Richmond family.

The suspects were arrested at 04:00 this morning in the Soetwater and Elandskop area. Police recovered three firearms as well as cellphones belonging to the deceased. The three suspects are between 19 and 20 years of age.

The German couple, Eckard (76) and Elizabeth Schutte and their son Lutz (33) were so badly mutilated that the police could not initially say how they had been murdered.

The horrific triple-murder of the German couple and their son was accompanied by gruesome violence which included them being torched.

Mr. Schutte’s neck and chest was carved open, Mrs. Schutte’s head was crushed with a heavy object and all three had been set alight. The victims also had stabwounds. The murders were clearly racial hate-crimes.

One of the suspects is an employee of the deceased. The motive for the murder was “robbery” the police said.

On Sunday 2 March the bodies of were discovered on Springfield Farm in Richmond by a family member who had come to visit them.

A neighbour of the deceased said the son Lutz had just arrived in South Africa from Germany to surprise his father for his 77th birthday.

His mother had fetched him at the airport on the weekend. The murderers were already in the house when they arrived, awaiting them. Mr. Schutte had presumably already been murdered by that time.

Their corpses were discovered shortly after twelve on the same day when another son, Stefan, had arrived at the farm for the birthday party.

There was no forced entry into the premises. The family’s vehicle, firearms and cellphones were taken by the suspects. The vehicle which is alleged to have been burnt in an isolated area could not be recovered due the inclement weather and terrain.

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni congratulated all role-players for the breakthrough. “Although we are saddened by the brutal attack and unnecessary loss of life we are glad that those responsible for this barbaric act of violence are behind bars where they belong,” she said.

She did not elaborate on the role the private security company played in the arrest.