Mbombela – A 78-year-old woman has been tortured and beaten to death with a hot clothes iron in her home in Dullstroom, Mpumalanga.
The body of Johanna (Jo) Moore was found in her home on Thursday morning with serious burn wounds to her face and both arms.
According to forensic experts, it looked as if her attackers had crushed her head with the same iron.
The motive for the murder appeared to be robbery, as money as missing from the house.
Moore, a South African citizen of Norwegian descent, had lived in Dullstroom for the past 22 years and ran a nursery in the town’s main road for many years.
Over the past few months she worked from home as a florist.
After news spread about Moore’s murder, many Dullstroom residents gathered at her Jan van Riebeeck Street home.
She was last seen alive on Wednesday afternoon when her gardener, André Mlwazu, left. He had worked for her for 21 years.
When he arrived at the house at about 08:00 on Thursday morning, he suspected trouble as the garden gate was open.
He walked around the house and saw an open door. In the kitchen he saw blood on the floor as well as keys near the pantry door.
He went to the neighbour, Ockie Burger, for help.
Moore’s body was found in the pantry. She was lying on her stomach in a pool of blood. The clothes iron with which she had been tortured was found next to her.
The whole house was in shambles. Her empty handbag, which had presumably contained cash, was also found.
Her car appeared untouched and stood in the garage.
Moore’s only family members live in Norway and the Netherlands. They were informed of the murder on Thursday.
She had worked for lawyers in Dullstroom for many years before buying the nursery after her retirement.
Her friend, Anita Minnaar, described her as tough, despite being small and slender.
“She was the kindest person imaginable and we got to know each other well because she did my company’s books.”
Moore’s best friend, Welma Strydom, was in a state of shock at the house on Thursday. They had known each other since Moore had arrived in Dullstroom, she said.
DA councillor Verne Lello said the community was horrified by the murder.
“She was vulnerable and never harmed anyone.”
Police asked people with information about the murder to call Sergeant Johannes Maseko on 082 3189600 or 013 2540141 or to contact Warrant Officer Daniel Nkosi on 082 7980659.