Elderly woman’s murder leaves community in shock

Constable Sharon Tsotsotso, from the Sebenza SAPS, told the NEWS the woman was killed by a contractor who was installing cupboards in her home at Thornhill Estate in Modderfontein. She was found murdered

The community is still in shock after Ms Sandy Paroniti (69) was found dead in her house in Modderfontein on Wednesday, May 20.

Constable Sharon Tsotsotso, from the Sebenza SAPS, said the woman was allegedly killed by a contractor installing cupboards in her home.

The woman was tied up, strangled and her wrists cut.

Const Tsotsotso confirmed that two suspects were arrested in Tsakane and appeared in court on May 25.

Const Tsotsotso said the woman’s daughter became worried when she could not get hold of her mother when she phoned her mom.

“She decided to drive to her mother’s house to check on her. When she arrived, her car was not there and she assumed her mother was not home. When she returned later, she became suspicious when she saw people waiting for her mother outside. She then called security.”

Const Tsotsotso said the police received a call from the the security of the estate, who said there was a problem. When the police arrived, the security broke into the woman’s home. On entering the house, they discovered the woman’s body.

Const Tsotsotso said Sebenza SAPS detectives followed up on information from a gardener working at the estate.

The information led officers to a man in Tsakane.

When he was questioned, the man confessed to killing the woman and stealing her car, plasma television, cellular phone and alcohol.

“The suspect confessed to tying the woman up, strangling her with a rope and cutting her wrists,” said Const Tsotsotso.

“He was arrested but he had already sold the victim’s television set and her cellular phone to another man. He took the detectives to the man he had sold the stolen goods to. The items were recovered,” said Const Tsotsotso.

The second suspect was also arrested and charged for buying stolen goods.

Both suspects appeared in court on Monday, May 25. At the time of going to print, it was unknown if the men had entered a plea.

Const Tsotsotso said all the items stolen from the woman’s home were recovered.

In a separate incident, an elderly couple was abducted from the Bedfordview Post Office on May 16.

According to the Bedfordview SAPS spokesperson, Sergeant Mduduzi Nhlabathi, the couple, both in their 80’s, was collecting mail around 6pm when two men approached their car and demanded that the husband move into the back seat.

Sgt Nhlabathi said the suspects drove the couple to Alexandra, where they searched them and took jewellery and cash. They then fled.

The husband was allegedly stabbed by the suspects during the robbery. The couple managed to drive to Waverly where security guards called an ambulance.

The husband spent a few days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the wife was also hospitalised. The couple was released from hospital but the incident has left them in shock.

Both incidents have sent shockwaves throughout the Modderfontein, Edenvale and Bedfordview communities.

“As if robbing them was not enough. How do you stab a man in his 80’s? I hope they can be locked away for good,” said one resident.

The Edenvale SAPS recently released a number of safety tips for senior citizens.

Crime prevention tips

  •  Never open your door to strangers; rather install and use a peephole.
  •  Always make sure that your doors and windows are locked, and ensure that your garage is not left unlocked.
  •  Try to vary your daily routine.
  •  Make use of a neighbourhood watch system to keep an eye on your neighbourhood. A concerned neighbour is often the best protection against crime.
  •  Avoid leaving notes on your door when leaving your house.
  •  Leave lights on when going out at night, or use a timer to turn lights on and off when you are away for an extended period.
  •  Notify neighbours and your security provider when going away on a trip.
  •  Be wary of unsolicited offers to make repairs to your home. Deal only with reputable businesses.
  •  Do not hesitate to report crime or suspicious activities to the SAPS or your security provider.
  •  Ask for proper identification from delivery persons or strangers. Do not be afraid of asking, if they are legitimate they will not mind.
  •  Never let a stranger into your home.
  •  Never give out information over the phone indicating you are alone or that you will not be home at a certain time.
  •  If you arrive at home and suspect a stranger may be inside, do not go in. Rather leave quietly and call the SAPS or your security provider to investigate.

Safety when taking a walk:

  •  If you are attacked on the street, make as much noise as possible by calling for help or blowing a whistle. Do not pursue your attacker. Call the SAPS or your security provider to report the crime as soon as possible.
  •  Avoid walking alone at night. Try to have a friend accompany you in high-risk areas, even during the daytime.
  •  Avoid carrying weapons, they may be used against you.
  •  Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings.
  •  Have your key ready when approaching your front door.
  •  Do not carry large, bulky shoulder bags, carry only what you need.

While out shopping:

  •  Always carry your purse close to you.
  •  Never leave your purse in a shopping cart and never leave your purse unattended.
  •  Do not carry more money than is necessary.
  •  Avoid displaying large sums of money.

Safety in your car:

  •  Always keep your car doors locked, whether you are in or out of your car and try to keep your petrol tank full and your car’s engine maintained to avoid breakdowns.
  •  If your car breaks down, pull over, open the bonnet and wait inside your car for help. Avoid getting out of the car and making yourself a target before the police arrive.
  •  At stop signs and traffic lights, keep the car in gear.
  •  Travel in well-lit and busy streets and plan your route.
  •  Do not leave your purse on the seat beside you, rather put it in the boot.
  •  Never leave valuables or packages in your car. If interesting packages are out of sight, a thief will be less tempted to break in and steal them.
  •  Never pick up hitchhikers.

When banking or dealing with money:

  •  Never withdraw money from your bank account for anyone except yourself. Be wary of con artists and get-rich-quick schemes that sound too good to be true.
  •  When someone approaches you with a get-rich-quick-scheme involving some or all of your savings, it is their get-rich-quick-scheme. If it is a legitimate investment, the opportunity to contribute your funds will still be there tomorrow – after you have had time to consider it.
  •  Always remember that you can visit the police station to ask for advice if you think you are being conned.
  •  If you have been swindled or conned, report the crime to the SAPS. Con-artists count on their victim’s reluctance to admit they have been duped, but if you delay, you help them get away.
  •  Always be alert when withdrawing money from an ATM.
  •  Never accept assistance from anyone at an ATM.
  •  Banks will never ask you to verify your banking details over the phone, nor will they send you e-mails to confirm your details.
  •  If you are asked to verify your details, rather visit your bank and do so in person.

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