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Police hunt for farm attackers


The two attackers also sprayed his entire body with Roundup weed killer

File picture: Supplied

POLICE are still searching for the suspects who brutally attacked an 81-year-old Hartswater farmer early yesterday morning.

John Byles sustained serious injuries in the farm attack, when he was “hit in the face with shovels and sprayed with poison”.

Byles was attacked on the farm Tadcaster, situated between Jan Kempdorp and Hartswater, at around 7am yesterday morning, when two unknown suspects overpowered him while he was unlocking the farm’s barn.

Byles works as the foreman on the farm.

He sustained serious injuries to his head and face after he was hit with shovels. The two attackers also sprayed his entire body with Roundup weed killer.

Byles managed to crawl underneath a bakkie, out of reach of his attackers.

The two suspects then entered Byles’ house, where they ransacked several rooms and also broke open a door to a room where his safes are kept. They did, however, not manage to gain access to the safes.

The suspects then apparently fled the scene with two cellphones and Byles’ wallet.

There were also signs that they had cut fences to exit the farm.

After Byles noticed that “things were quiet again” he crept out from under the bakkie and alerted farm workers, who in turn alerted a neighbouring farmer, Danie Grove.

Byles was then taken to a local doctor where he received medical attention.

Grove said yesterday that the scene where Byles was attacked was “covered in blood” and a shovel, apparently used during the attack, was lying nearby, while the entire area smelled strongly of poison.

“John’s face and head were covered in blood, his eyes were swollen shut and even some of his teeth are missing. His body was also drenched in weed poison that the attackers sprayed over him,” Grove said.

Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, yesterday confirmed that police were investigating a case of house robbery following an incident where a man was accosted by two unknown men on a farming plot just outside Hartswater at around 7am.

Kock added that no arrests had been made yet and requested anyone with information about the incident to contact Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Sereetsi on 082 4544 212.

The attack caused outrage among community members yesterday, with many saying that it was “only by the grace of God” that Byles survived the ordeal.

“We are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of especially our older community members, who are apparently becoming soft targets for violent and senseless attacks,” said Johan Cloete, who assisted Byles following the attack.