Mother opens heart after murder of son

Henry

“‘Get over it,’ screams the world. I’m trying, really, I’m trying…”

Linda Mey, the mother of the 32-year-old Hilton Pretorius who tragically died after being run over in a parking lot of a shopping center in Klerksdorp, spoke to RNews for the first time this week about the loss of her youngest son.

Pretorius was assaulted in a parking lot in Doringkruin on 3 September. Wernich Botha (33) is charged with the murder of almost eight months ago.

“Hilton was the little brother. He and my eldest child, Danie, and my middle child, Lindie – their only sister – were inseparable and undoubtedly loyal to each other. If someone did something to one, all three felt it.

“And now we will never stop feeling the void left by the little brother.”

“His body is shutting down,” are words that will stay with the family for the rest of their lives.

Mey says that Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 September were “some of the worst days of their lives”, but that nothing could prepare them for 20 September.

“The wonder, the broken hope, the hurt when the doctor explained to us that Hilton’s brain functions were shutting down after his body. At that stage, his left arm and leg did not move at all, but his right hand moved slightly. Tears flowed from his left eye.”

Mey says all that went through her mind at that stage was that her child was dying.

“He died, he died for hours and hours, each time just further away…

“We cried to the Lord without ceasing. To the Hilton. We know God was with him, He sent a big storm over Klerksdorp and Hilton’s bedroom windows slammed shut.”

She says Hilton had an incredible gift. “He could understand any person’s emotional state immediately. He was sensitive to other people’s feelings and emotions. He would keep quiet many times to spare others the grief.”

She says what will stick with her most about him is his ability to bring family and friends together. “His life and his home were always open to everyone. He worked very hard and his children were his pride, his love and his life.”

Mey says they are still devastated and his son (8) and daughter (5) are also longing for their daddy.

“My heart breaks into pieces when sister asks dear Jesus if He will bring daddy Hilton back. And it is very bad to see a little boy running on the rugby field – and his daddy is not there.

“We miss Hilton every second of every day. Our hurt is getting worse by the day. We were a very close family and made sure we made time for each other every week.”

However, she says that she will be eternally grateful to God for the friends, family, AfriForum’s private prosecution unit and the advocates who support and assist them in these difficult times.

“A part of me was ripped away. It is a very sad road, but I know I am not alone.

“Hilton is with God, I’m sure of that. I believe that the truth will set us all free. I pray, I keep praying to the Lord. My God is in control.”

The murder case against Botha

A video of the incident spread like wildfire on social media at the time. The video shows two men lying motionless in a pool of blood. Pretorius was initially admitted to hospital with brain damage and later died in hospital. PW Roos (44) was apparently also assaulted by Botha. He survived.

Botha was arrested shortly after the assault incident, but was released on bail of R2 000 on 7 September.

He was initially tried on a charge of attempted murder, but the state changed the charge to murder when Pretorius died in hospital. The charge of assault with intent to seriously injure was also amended to attempted murder after the state reviewed Roos’ injuries. The charges against Botha were therefore amended to schedule 5 charges. The court kept his bail status of R2 000 and ordered him not to interfere with any of the state’s witnesses.

“What bothers us most in the case so far is that the investigating officer does not respond to our inquiries and does not report back to us as the victim’s family.

“There are important pieces of evidence – which can explain significant information about events – that are not followed up on.

“However, we still commit ourselves 100% to offering our cooperation to the police.

“I just want justice to be done for my youngest.”

Mey did not want to comment further on the murder case or Botha due to the fear that it could hinder the investigation.

RNews reported earlier that AfriForum’s private prosecution unit is acting on behalf of the family of Pretorius. Mey approached the unit out of concern that the police were not giving the case the attention it deserved. Her anxiety stems from the fact that the accused is well-known in Klerksdorp and has relatives in the police and NPA.

Botha will appear again in the Klerksdorp Magistrate’s Court in August.