Chilling countdown to murder on Mother's Day

Maurice Pirzenthal allegedly killed his mother and then committed suicide.
Maurice Pirzenthal allegedly killed his mother and then committed suicide.
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 brutally stabbed her to death – and to what would have been her 78th birthday the next day.

While other children were celebrating Mother’s Day with their moms on Sunday‚ the 50-year-old Port Elizabeth man sat waiting calmly on a chair in their garden with a spear gun for his mother Barbara Sturdy to return from a night church service and then stabbed her to death.

He also stabbed his sister‚ Sandra Coetzee‚ 57‚ in the throat before killing himself.

Coetzee is in a critical condition in hospital.

She had driven her mother back to the Kanarie Road‚ Cotswold‚ home that Sturdy shared with her son‚ at about 8:30pm after church on Sunday when they were attacked by Pirzenthal.

While a badly bleeding Coetzee managed to escape‚ Pirzenthal calmly walked up his driveway after the attack‚ climbed into his vehicle and gassed himself in his locked garage – just metres from where his mother’s body lay.

Extensive bloodstains marked the street outside where the attack took place and a clear trail of blood indicated the path in which Coetzee had fled.

The shocking incident ended a bitter six-year feud and court battle between Pirzenthal and his mother over occupancy of the property‚ where Pirzenthal had operated what tenants on Monday described as a commune.

The lodgings were run under the auspices of Pirzenthal’s registered non-governmental organisation Rags to Life Safe Haven.

Two of the tenants – who‚ along with the others‚ have until May 30 to vacate the premises as a result of the family feud – sketched a terrifying picture on Monday of what they described as a premeditated attack on Sturdy.

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