Community mourns murdered Centurion hiking icon

Police have yet to make any arrests following the shooting of renowned hiker Leni Hamilton.

Tributes and heartfelt messages have followed the shocking murder of Leni Hamilton (67), who was shot dead at her Centurion business, Hikers Paradise, around 17:00 on Tuesday.

Hamilton was well known in the Centurion community and among hiking enthusiasts across the country.

Police have opened a murder investigation, and are looking for the perpetrators – three men and a woman.

Sarel van Rensburg said: “Leni was Hikers Paradise and Hikers Paradise was Leni,” a sentiment that many share.

Hikers Paradise opened its doors almost 30 years ago in 1994 but was closed following Hamilton’s murder. Its events have been cancelled until further notice.

Hamilton was set to present a Camino information session on Saturday.

Leni Hamilton at the summit of Bloupunt near Montagu in 2017. Photo: Facebook.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the untimely death of Leni Hamilton, an adventurer and a wonderful human being,” said David Jacobs on Facebook.

Dipak Bastakoti said: “She did not deserve such a fate, as she loves people, always smiles, and is kind in many ways.”

According to Tshwane police spokesperson Warrant Officer Johan van Dyk, a shopper who witnessed the crime told police that the perpetrators entered the shop and began talking loudly.

The witness said Hamilton wanted to attend to them because they were disturbing the other shoppers.

“[Hamilton] spoke to [them] and requested they leave,” said Van Dyk.

The witness told police that she began moving towards the door.

“One [perpetrator] grabbed a handgun from the other [perpetrator] and shot her [Hamilton] in the face,” said Van Dyk.

The witness hid behind a display.

Van Dyk said Hamilton died instantly. The perpetrators fled in two vehicles.

Lyttelton SAPS, forensic investigators, and detectives collected and processed evidence at the scene and are following up on leads.

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