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Town ‘living in fear’

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“From the fingerprints taken from the scene, it appears that there might have been more than one person involved.”

RESIDENTS of Warrenton are living in fear after an 86-year-old woman was reportedly raped and murdered in her home on the weekend, while a second woman was raped a few hours later.

The suspect/s involved in the murder of the elderly woman have not yet been arrested.

According to concerned residents, the town’s police station only has one phone and “it is almost impossible to get hold of them”.

Rina Spangenberg, 86, was brutally attacked in her house on Saturday night and apparently raped before being left for dead.

“She takes care of a mentally disabled family member, who was fortunately sleeping at the time and seemingly did not hear the commotion,” a resident of the town said yesterday.

According to the resident, another tenant living in a flat on the premises, must have heard the noises.

“She tried to SMS several people, but because it was quite late she couldn’t get hold of anyone.”

The mentally disabled family member apparently woke up and found Spangenberg lying on the floor in a pool of blood in the house around 11pm on Saturday night and raised the alarm.

The octogenarian had been attacked with a blunt object, and, according to residents, raped. Townsfolk said yesterday that the woman had been beaten “beyond recognition”.

It is believed that her attackers made off with a television set and some groceries.

“From the fingerprints taken from the scene, it appears that there might have been more than one person involved.”

The residents added that members of the public, who had been alerted, tried to call the police but they couldn’t get hold of anyone.

“There are apparently three lines – but there is only one telephone at the station. A member of the community eventually got into their car and drove to the police station to inform them of the incident.”

A local doctor, who was also called, reportedly arrived at the scene even before the police.

Spangenberg died of her injuries shortly after being rushed to the local hospital. It is believed that she was attacked with a blunt object and had sustained fatal head injuries.

According to the resident, another woman, believed to be from Warrenvale, was also allegedly raped only hours after this incident.

“Her attacker apparently pulled her into the bushes and hit her in the face with a broken beer bottle before allegedly raping her.”

She stated that community members of the small town were now living in fear.

“One resident had someone trying to break down her door at 4am the other day and she also tried to call the police, but there was no answer. The people are petrified – especially as they cannot rely on the police. There is only one phone at the police station and apparently the young officers are on the phone all night having private conversations.”

She pointed out that there had been a number of murders in the town over the years “but not one person has ever been arrested”.

“We cannot continue to live in fear.”

Police spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba said yesterday that at this stage he could only confirm that the police in Warrenton were investigating a case of house robbery and murder after an 86-year-old woman was attacked in her house in Warrenton on Saturday evening.

“No one has been arrested, the suspect is still at large. Any person with information that can assist us in bringing the perpetrators to book is requested to communicate with the investigating officer, Captain Fourie, on 082 495 4739. Information can also be shared anonymously on Crime Stop 08600 10111.”

He added that the police management in the Northern Cape took note of allegations levelled against the police officials who sit and talk on the telephone all night on private calls which hampers the members of the public trying to get through when they have to report cases or seek assistance telephonically.

“We will conduct an internal investigation into these allegations and act accordingly,” he stated.

“Should community members struggle to reach the Warrenton police station they are advised to contact the station commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Mngwevu, on 082 495 4686 , the Visible Police officer, Captain Moleko, on 082 495 4642, or the Standby Detective on 082 448 6340.”

He did not comment on the alleged rape of a second woman in the town on Saturday night.