Lone survivor of Dullstroom farm attack speaks about horror night

I thought I was dead after that until I looked up and saw the stars, he said.

Robert Lynn has returned home from hospital to face the demons and deal with the sadness that comes with losing his best friend after he and his wife were overpowered in their house on the Marchlands farm in Mpumalanga on Sunday morning, reports the Middelburg Observer.

Lynn’s wife, Susan Howarth, passed away in hospital on Tuesday, and Lynn was discharged on Wednesday.

READ MORE: One of two victims of Dullstroom farm attack dies

He said: “I woke up because the dogs were barking, and there was a racket at the bedroom window. After I stood up, I heard glass breaking. I suppose that is when they started shooting at us. I assumed they missed.”

Men wearing balaclavas pounded on Lynn, hitting him over the head with a gun. He was ordered to lie down.

“They kept on asking where the money is. I told them that we don’t keep money, but they would not believe me.”

Lynn gave them a couple of hundred rand he had in a money clip and his bank cards, telling his attackers that they would be able to withdraw R1 000 a day from it.

Lynn was taken to the living room. He was covered with a blanket. Shortly after, attackers started burning him with a blowtorch on his chest and legs.

His hands were tied with baling twine and robbers then started cutting him with a knife in order to get him to confess to keeping more money or a gun safe somewhere.

“They were looking for things we just don’t have. I said to them that whoever gave them their information, gave them the wrong information. One of them replied with, ‘No they didn’t.’”

Lynn kept on calling to his wife in the bedroom, who he last saw lying in a sleeping position. She did not answer.

“The small dark one, who seemed to be the leader, smacked me over the head with his gun and told me to shut up.”

Lynn was put in the back of their Nissan Hardbody doublecab. His attackers pulled a black bag over his head.

“I suppose they wanted to suffocate me, but I managed to bite a tiny hole through the bag through which I could breathe.”

He heard his wife moaning as she was thrown into the loading bin of their bakkie.

The attackers struggled for a while to reverse the vehicle out of the parking.

“I thought we were going to Dullstroom to withdraw money. But then they turned towards Belfast,” said Lynn.

The attackers drove on back roads through Belfast and Siyathuthuka and on to the road towards Stoffberg.

“They kept on stopping and going. When they stopped for good, they pulled me out of the vehicle by my hair.”

Robbers walked with him into the field, where he had to crawl through a barbed wire fence and ordered to stand on his knees.

“That was the last thing I remember. I thought I was dead after that until I looked up and saw the stars.”

It took Lynn some time to free his hands, after he crawled back to the road.

“When I got to the road, something told me to turn right. But left made more sense because it was downhill. I turned right. I was not steady on my feet, so I crawled most of the way. I thought I heard a cow mooing. Later I realised that it was Susan moaning.

“I crossed the road, crawling most of the way. On the other side I saw Susan, lying in a ditch. Her hands tied behind her back. She was bleeding from her head.”

“I didn’t know what to do. I could see that she was in a very bad state. I could sit with her, but the best thing would be to try and get help. So I stood next to the road. Five trucks and two cars passed me, hooting as they did.”

His saviours were two friends in a bakkie, pulling a boat, who stopped as dawn broke.

“Susan was a great girl. She imported ingredients for pharmaceutical products, like the active ingredient in Guronzan C.”

She moved to Dullstroom in 1996 and started the Dullstroom Stables before Marchlands became her home.

“She had a great life just to end up dumped in a ditch with her hands tied behind her back.”

Howarth passed away in the Midmed Hospital at 9.30am on Tuesday morning, never regaining consciousness after the attack. The postmortem will have to determine exactly what the extent of her injuries were.

Her ashes will be flown to Southsea, in England, where she will be buried with her parents. She was an only child.

Meanwhile, Lynn is trying to pick up the pieces in Dullstroom.

He said that he was amazed at how good people have been to him. But he will never be able to forget what the evil people are capable of.

Caxton News Service

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