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06 November 2012 at 21:46 - Posted by FightAgainstCrime

Stabbing suspect tracked through GPS - SANEWS


Durban - A Ladysmith grandfather, on the run for 10 hours with his toddler grandson after he had allegedly stabbed his wife six times with a kitchen knife, was tracked down by local farmers using Google maps and GPS on Sunday.

Through satellite tracking and the swift work by farmers, the 53-year-old man was tracked through his cellphone.

Police found him locked in a room at an Estcourt hotel with the two-year-old unharmed.

During the search, the man sent several SMSes to panic-stricken relatives, allegedly threatening to kill himself and the child.

He was expected to appear in the Ladysmith Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on allegations of attempted murder and kidnapping.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said the stabbing had happened in Gumtree Road, Ladysmith.

He said the woman sustained multiple stab wounds and was in a serious condition in hospital.

The grandson was returned to his mother, Zwane said.

Mark Pitout, the co-ordinator of the Midlands e-Block Watch – a community support network – said he had been alerted by police to the alleged stabbing and kidnapping of the child, after 8am on Sunday.

“We work closely with the police by sending out alerts to the community about various activities and crimes,” Pitout said.

“When I received word about this man being on the run, I immediately SMSed his details, car description and registration to our network members.”

Pitout said the details were also sent to police in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The SAPS crime intelligence unit was also alerted.

A source close to the investigation said the man and his wife had been living apart.

“She was with her sister in Ladysmith. The man went there and allegedly stabbed her six times.

“He appeared to have had an emotional meltdown. He then grabbed his grandson – his daughter’s child – and fled.”

The woman’s sister, who apparently tried to intervene, also sustained a stab wound to her hand.

The source said the wife had received more than 30 stitches.

He said the man drove to a local garage where he filled up with fuel before driving to Spioenkop Dam.

Police and members of the SAPS dog unit went to the dam, where a security guard informed them the man had left five minutes earlier.

“He drove around for several hours with the child. His family had feared he was suicidal,” the source said.

“He sent several SMSes to them, threatening to kill himself and the child. But, it seems his love for his grandchild deterred him from doing anything stupid.”

Pitout said the farmers rallied and by 6pm had located the man’s car at the Plough Hotel in Estcourt.

He said they had managed to determine the grandfather’s location using GPS data fed from a satellite transmitter that tracked his cellphone.

“I gave the farmers the GPS reading and they helped track the man and child,” Pitout said.

“The farmers, through the GPS and Google maps, led the police to the hotel in Estcourt. This was excellent work from the farmers and e-Block.”

At the hotel, police knocked on the man’s room door. When he failed to respond, they forced it open. The child was found sleeping on the bed and several food containers were strewn on the floor, the source said.

Pitout said had it not been for the farmers and the technical support, the suspect would not have easily been found.

“The man had sustained a severe cut wound to his hand and had to receive medical treatment,” he said.

“It is unclear how he was injured.”


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