Five men stood in court today accused of the brutal execution of a British engineer’s sister-in-law at his farm in South Africa in a crime so horrific that it shocked the nation.
Devastated David Thomas, 68, has waited nearly two years for the brutal gang accused of shooting dead Heila Kilian, 63, to face trial for her murder.
In April 2018 David’s teacher wife Brenda, 63, had welcomed her elder sister Heila to their homestead just outside Still Bay the day before she was blasted to death in cold blood.
Sakhumzi Benya, 29, Nkosihethu Nocuza, 25, Msomi Nikani, 25, Monwabisi Maki, 23, and Xolusani Myoyi, 29, all pleaded not guilty to murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and malicious damage to property and theft when they appeared before Judge Lister.
They all face a minimum life sentence behind bars if found guilty of the charges.
(From left to right) Sakhumzi Benya, 29, Nkosihethu Nocuza, 25, Msomi Nikani, 25, Monwabisi Maki, 23, and Xolusani Myoyi, 29, all pleaded not guilty to murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and malicious damage to property and theft
Mother-of-four Heila Kilian, 63, (left) was shot through the heart when a group attacked them in South Africa. Her sister Brenda, 63, and her sister’s partner David Thomas, 68, were tortured for two hours before Brenda managed to escape
Ms Kilian had come to visit the family in South Africa in April 2018. She is pictured enjoying lunch with them in a selfie taken by Mr Thomas
Father-of-two David had been playing the guitar as family friend Shaun Vorster, 53, cooked chicken kebabs for the group of four over open coals and had just served up at 10pm.
As the happy group toasted each other with glasses of red wine five black men wearing orange boiler suits and balaclavas and masks suddenly appeared out of the darkness with guns.
A moving video taken by Brit David just minutes before Heila was murdered shows her and her sister Brenda toasting him with glasses of red wine as their tenant Shaun cooks the food.
Shortly after this footage ends fun loving mother-of-four Heila was dead.
Mossel Bay High Court in Western Province heard that one of the men raised a pistol and walked up behind unsuspecting Heila and shot her dead from behind with a single shot.
Ms Kilian with her sister Ms Thomas. The happy group were attacked as they toasted each other with glasses of red wine around a camp fire
Ms Kilian and Ms Thomas at a campfire with family friend Shaun Vorster, 53, moments before they were attacked by five men
Ms Kilian pictured with her daughter Marika. Happy footage shows the mother enjoying her time in South Africa moments before her death
Ms Kilian, pictured enjoying lunch the day before her death, was shot through the heart
She collapsed instantly with a bullet straight through her heart onto the dinner table as the armed gang then attacked terrified David and his wife Brenda and their friend Shaun.
The three survivors were put through two hours of torture and beatings until brave Brenda managed to escape and the gang panicked and fled in David’s stolen Toyota Hilux.
They had forced Shaun to open his safe under threat of death and escaped with a number of hunting rifles, a shotgun, a pistol, hunting knives and £1600 in cash and Brenda’s jewellery
Victim Heila was left lying in a pool of her own blood by the barbecue as David and Shaun tried to free themselves from their bonds to then raise the alarm summoning the police.
David from Effingham, Surrey, and his wife Brenda and sister-in-law Heila and tenant Shaun were attacked at Gazania Farm which he ran as a coffee shop and Christian drop in centre.
The five men accused of her murder and torturing the others are pictured abve at court in Mossel Bay, South Africa