The couple was tortured with a blowtorch and shot by robber gang at their farm in South Africa. A woman named Sue Howarth, 64 years old, was blatantly murdered and her husband, Robert Lynn, 66, was left for dead after they were subjected to inhumane cruelty on Sunday morning, February 19, 2017.
The couple was asleep in bed at home in Dullstroom in Mpualanga province when three black men broke in to their home through a glass window at 2:00 AM and horrifically tied them up. The gang had refused to believe that the couple did not have a safe, and had blatantly scorched their bodies with a blowtorch as they yelled for help on their remote farm 150 miles from Pretoria.
According to Mr Lynn, the gang kept on asking where the money is, and would not want to believe him. Mr Lynn gave them a couple of hundred Rand he had in a money clip and his bank cards, telling his attackers that they will be able to withdraw R1 000 per day from it.
He said: “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.’”
Mr Lynn kept on calling to his wife in the bedroom, who he last saw lying in a sleeping position and 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.” He said.
According to the police, they were put through a dreadful ordeal which lasted for several hours in which they were also violently beaten around the head and cut with a knife. They were tortured with a blow torch and knives. Eventually the three men had bundled the married couple into their own pickup truck. Sue had a plastic bag jammed down her throat and Robert had a bag tied round his neck in an effort to strangle him, and were driven from the Mash Land farm through Belfast towards Stoffberg. In the pass Sue was shot in the head twice before her attackers dragged her into the field next to the road and Robert was shot once in the neck.
The couple was discovered shortly after 06:00 by two friends on their way to a fishing trip, when a visibly confused Robert flagged them down next to the road.
Incredibly Robert survived, had managed to free himself and found his terribly injured wife nearby. He was treated in the intensive care unit and has been discharged from hospital and returned to their farm. Mr. Lynn told his local paper, the Middleburg Observer he had to “face the demons”, and deal with the sadness that comes with losing his best friend.
“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,” Mr. Lynn said.
His wife on the other hand, was rushed to hospital, but passed away 2 days later after slipping into a coma.
Police said Sue was unrecognisable from her injuries, and that she had multiple fractures to her skull and gunshot wounds and horrific burns from the blow torch to her breasts. Her breasts had what looked like burn marks and from the position in which Sue was discovered it looked like they dragged her on her stomach, causing her burnt breasts to drag over asphalt and soil and grass. Sue was discovered amongst some trees, lying in a ditch. Her rescuers managed to find her by following her groans of pain and then noticing drag marks from the road into the field. Her head was covered with a towel. Her eyes were swollen shut. She was partially clothed with just scraps of her shirt remaining.
Her breasts and upper body was bloody. The plastic bag, shoved down her throat, took some effort to remove because her jaw was clamped down tightly.
A spokesman for the Democratic Alliance said yesterday: “Sue and husband Robert were overpowered and tortured and left for dead.
Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathis said: “They were sleeping on Sunday when they were attacked by three men. This was a violent and horrific attack and we are searching for those responsible.”
Col. Phela Mahlangu, head of the detectives at the Middelburg Cluster, said that a task team has been established to work on the case around the clock tracing the suspects to Nelspruit, Machadodorp as well as Belfast. A reward is being put together by friends of the couple to try and track down their evil attackers.
On the breaking news published in the MiddleBurg Observer on February 24, 2017, it was just learned that the police have arrested five suspects in connection with the farm attack and murder of Sue Howarth in Dullstroom.
Sue has not regained consciousness since the ordeal. When she was visited in hospital, a bright white towel once again covered her head. Her ashes will be flown to Southsea in England where she will be buried with her parents.