‘Hey’, then he shot her

A Rosetta guesthouse owner was shot dead during an armed robbery on her remote farm while her foreign housemate was bound and gagged with wire and left for dead in the home by two balaclava-clad men.

Patricia “Trish” Vause Taylor (65), who owned the Threeways Getaway guesthouse, and her 70-year-old friend (who did not want to be named) were watching television on Monday evening at about 8 pm when they were attacked.

Taylor was shot once in her chest and fell over in the lounge where they had been sitting.

“I kept asking myself why am I still alive, why are they not also killing me, why is this happening?” said the friend.

Traumatised from her ordeal and devastated over the loss of her long-time friend, the woman said they were caught totally unaware.

“We found out later that they came through the bathroom window. I just saw the men come up to us. The one man came to me and said ‘we want money, we want jewellery, we want guns’. I put up my hands immediately and said ‘okay’.

“They pulled me up and started tying me. At the same time, they went to Trish and she just looked at the guy and said ‘hey’. That was it. He just shot at her at close range through her breast. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was next and started praying,” she said.

The men then gagged her, bound her with wire and dragged her through the house to her bedroom where they pushed her onto the bed and tried to suffocate her with pillows and duvets.

A SAPS forensics team was at the scene on Tuesday.

“I almost suffocated. I kept praying, ‘please Lord, please Jesus, cover me’. The one man was angry and kept pushing the pillow on my face while the other one told him to leave me alone, that I’m a gogo. They then left me and ransacked Trish’s room, taking out the safe and fleeing with it and the two TVs,” said the woman.

She said she lay on the bed for a while and when she heard them leaving with the car, she managed to get off the bed and raise the alarm by about 9.30 pm.

“I managed to free my hands from the wire. I couldn’t believe that Trish was dead. I quickly sent a message to my husband in Zambia and got a call through to neighbours and police. The police didn’t even know where to find us and took forever to get to us. Our neighbours were here within an hour,” said the traumatised woman.

Nsele Security Services were also on the scene shortly after they were alerted to the incident.

Taylor’s grieving son Jason (28), who lives in Durban, said they received a frantic call from their mother’s friend’s husband from Zambia, informing them of what had happened.

“We only got the news at about 11 pm and raced up to the farm getting here at about 1.30 am. It was the worst sight that could have greeted us. No one deserves to die in this manner, least of all our mother, who was the kindest and most generous person,” said Jason.

He said their family were shocked by the incident and overwhelmed with the violence.

“Why did they have to kill her? It’s senseless. They could have taken what they wanted without causing them any harm. These were two defenceless women. My mom was a church-going person who was well-known and loved in the community,” said Jason.

Grateful that he had spent time with his mother last week when she visited him in Durban for his birthday; and on Sunday when he visited her, Jason said the farm and the guesthouse were his mother’s dream come true.

“We grew up in the area and mum wanted to live here in her old age. She bought the farm in 2007 and recently developed the guesthouse that had just started doing well. This place was a haven — a sanctuary for us. It’s just so unbelievable,” said Jason.

Trish Taylor.

There were two guests staying at the guesthouse, a mere five metres away from Taylor’s house — at the time of the incident.

“The guests said they slept through the incident and had to be notified of what had occurred when the police arrived. They said they didn’t hear a thing,” said a source.

The source confirmed that the guests were employed as municipal bodyguards. The source also said they were baffled as to why only the two televisions, safe and car were taken.

“There was so much more they could have taken but this is what they took. Everything else was untouched. We can’t understand why kill a person and then take the least amount of things,” said the source.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joshua Maistry said a case of murder and armed robbery was being investigated and that no arrests had been made. The vehicle was found abandoned in a soccer field near the Mooi River SPCA on Tuesday morning.