Murder

Man 67, is hacked ‘into pieces’ in front of his wife while bravely fighting to protect her from machete-wielding robber

The owner of a German-themed restaurant was hacked “into pieces” in front of his terrified partner by a man wielding a machete.

Austrian born Eduard Neumeister was left “unrecognisable” after being hit with “dozens of blows” from the razor sharp bush knife at his country smallholding in rural South Africa.

The 67-year-old and his German partner Margit Riebler, 62, had woken for breakfast at Edi’s Bratwurst Sausage Restaurant and B&B, which they run together in sleepy Balgowan in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

When Eduard went outside to feed their two Rottweiler dogs by his workshop he was suddenly struck by a man with a balaclava and knocked to the ground.

Margit described to police how there was a huge struggle outside in which Eduard, known to locals as Edi, put up a brave battle for life before collapsing in a huge pool of blood.

He had been hit repeatedly with the blade causing Margit to believe that he was dead.

The balaclava wearing man then went into the restaurant kitchen and grabbed terrified Margit around the throat.

He threatened to kill her before demanding: “Give me all the money or die”.

As he strangled her Margit saw her partner Eduard somehow come staggering back in the door, horrifically injured and covered in blood, in a bid to help her.

The attacker turned round and launched a second attack, leaving Eduard injured beyond recognition.

Police officers later arrived and said they had never seen such horrific injuries inflicted by one man and that Eduard was literally cut “into pieces”.

While the man was attacking Eduard, Margit fled the house and ran 360 metres down a track to the rural main road.

She managed to flag down a passing car and was driven to a security post at nearby Michaelhouse boys boarding school where she was able to call emergency services.

Last night Eduard’s German daughter Sylvia, 38, fought back tears at her home in Cape Town and said her father would have stood little chance against a man armed with a machete.

She recounted what Margit told her on the phone after the attack and said: “Dad was hit from behind with a machete outside and it must have hit an artery as there was so much blood.

“Edi had gone out to feed our rottweilers who are just so soft they barked and ran away when this man attacked.

“We think to be there at that time he must have been lying in wait for him.

“We don’t know how he got past the electric fence and inside the main compound area but it would seem he knew my dad always fed the dogs at about 7.30am and he was waiting for him.

“Dad went down on the ground as you can see from all the bloodstains by the workshop, but shouted a warning to Margit.

“The black guy went inside then had his hands around her throat.

“He was strangling her saying ‘do you want to die? Give me the money or die’.

Sylvia said that by all accounts her father “should have been dead”.

“This animal turned away from Margit and picked up the machete again and hacked dad again and again and again and the ambulance people said he was just left unrecognisable,” she continued.

“His face was cut off and he was left in bits and we were told that it was too gruesome for anyone to even try and identify him because it was just impossible to tell who he was.

“They can’t tell for sure how many times he was hit but it was continuous until there was nothing left and the emergency services people said they had never seen anything like it before.

“It must have been dozens and dozens of times and there was nothing left to put in a coffin.”

Sylvia expressed hopes that her father’s death would come as a wake up call to the country.

“No person deserves to die like this let alone my father and it is time this country woke up to what is happening on the farms and smallholdings because what happened here is just not right,” she continued.

“We are very angry because this was such a pointless and merciless and malicious killing. It was just plain brutal.

“Our dad was a funny man with a wicked sense of humour who made people laugh.

“He did not harm anyone and was kind to everyone so he did not deserve this. His family had all helped him since 2010 build up his business and our blood, sweat and tears went into that.

The murdered man’s son Tommy, a leading sommelier from Weinheim in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, said he spoke every Sunday by phone with his father to catch up on their week.

He said: “Edi and I had talked about farm attacks in South Africa but he never thought it would happen to him.

“He had upped security with two dogs and an electric fence and he felt he was safe.

“Killings like this need to stop right now and I don’t want anyone else going through what we are going through and more has to be done to keep farmers and those on these smallholdings safe.

“Edi was a proud father and grandfather and I feel a part of me has been ripped out.

“I could not believe that on Sunday instead of chatting to him as usual I was dealing with his death.”

Eduard, originally from Salzburg in Austria moved to South Africa in the 1970’s and met and married German sweetheart Marian from Thuringia in Johannesburg in 1980.

That year they had son Tommy and 18 months later daughter Sylvia. but the marriage did not last.

They were divorced in 1994 and boiler maker Eduard found new love with Margit Riebler.

Police Service spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said Eduard was declared dead at the scene by a doctor.

Democratic Alliance local councillor Sandile Mnikati said: “I had met Mr Neumeister a few times when I went to his establishment and he was a gentle and loving man.

“The brutal killing of one of the most loving members of our community is a tragedy and his loss to criminals in such a merciless manner will leave a scar for years to come on our community”.

Comment here