The gang who invaded her house fled empty-handed after setting her home alight, in an apparent attempt to conceal the crime or destroy evidence.
Catherina "Kitty" Botha, 83, who lived alone for the past 27 years, was found dead in the passage of her Lyttelton home late on Friday night by police, who had been called to the scene by hysterical neighbours.
'No arrests have been made and the motive for the attack is unknown'Neighbours were alerted to the fire when the windows of Botha's Selborne Avenue home began exploding in the heat of the fire.
Trying desperately to douse the flames with hosepipes, neighbours watched in horror and despair as the flames engulfed a bedroom before spreading rapidly through the roof.
Attempts by several to rescue Botha, who many thought was trapped by the flames, proved fruitless when they were forced back by the heat of the fire.
Botha's body was discovered tied up, her hands bound behind her back, close to her daschund, Moo-Moo, when a Lyttelton policeman, who was on patrol, spotted the fire and ran into the house when he heard that she was still inside the building.
The heat from the flames and smoke, however, forced the officer to retreat. Family and neighbours on Saturday gathered outside the blackened house, which was cordoned off by yellow police crime scene tape.
'At this stage no one is sure of what happened or why the woman was killed'Botha's grandson, Ryan Dekenah, who described his grandmother as an "incredibly" strong woman who loved her community, said the family was devastated.
"We cannot understand it. These guys did not take anything. They left jewellery, money and all her electrical appliances, including the TV and the CD player. It does not make any sense," he said.
Dekenah, whose grandmother helped raise him after his mother died when he was young, said they had received numerous messages of support and condemnation from the community. He described his grandmother as the most interesting person he had ever met.
"Granny Kitty, who was born in Oudtshoorn, gave a lot of love to the people in the community and was always reaching out to help and had her community at heart," he said, adding that his grandmother's close companion, Moo-Moo, was found dead under a couch where he had suffocated.
Police Sergeant Lynnette Erasmus confirmed the murder and said Botha was found tied up, face-down in a passage next to a bedroom where the fire was believed to have been started.
"At this stage no one is sure of what happened or why the woman was killed," she said, adding that initial investigations showed that although the house had been ransacked, nothing had been stolen in the attack.
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