Son laid in wait with speargun before murdering his mother

15 May 2018 - 10:44 By Shaun Gillham And Gareth Wilson
Maurice Pirzenthal with police documents detailing his mother’s alleged misbehaviour. File photo.
Maurice Pirzenthal with police documents detailing his mother’s alleged misbehaviour. File photo.
Image: Mark West

In a coldly calculated countdown to his mother’s murder‚ Maurice Pirzenthal marked off the days on a calendar leading up to Mother’s Day - when he stabbed her to death - and to what would have been her 78th birthday the next day.

The 50-year-old Port Elizabeth man sat waiting on a chair in their garden with a speargun for Barbara Sturdy‚ 77‚ to return from a night church service and then stabbed her to death‚ HeraldLIVE reports.

He also stabbed his sister‚ Sandra Coetzee‚ 57‚ in the throat. While Coetzee managed to escape‚ Pirzenthal climbed into his vehicle and gassed himself in his locked garage.

The murder ended a six-year feud‚ and court battle‚ between Pirzenthal and his mother over occupancy of the property‚ where Pirzenthal had operated what tenants described as a commune. In March‚ a Port Elizabeth court ruled that Pirzenthal and his tenants must vacate the property by the end of this month.

This was despite the fact that Pirzenthal was the legal owner of the property‚ which he had bought from Sturdy in 2012.

As part of the sale‚ however‚ Sturdy held a usufruct on the house - meaning she had the legal right to use and benefit from the property.

“He had been marking off the days until the 14th [yesterday] on his calendar in the house‚” a woman tenant said.

On Sunday‚ she saw him sit on a chair near the gate. "He had some sort of gas gun on him and then we later saw that he was sitting next to one of those spearguns‚" HeraldLIVE quoted her as saying.

A second tenant said the property was heavily monitored by CCTV cameras set up by Pirzenthal to monitor his mother both on the property and outside. He had also strategically placed three large rock formations in the driveway to make it difficult for Sturdy to access her garage.

His sister is receiving treatment at a state hospital.

- HeraldLIVE

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