Fiancee speaks of car-jack murder

THE heartbroken fiancée of a Suffolk man gunned down on a South African garage forecourt by car-jackers has revealed she pleaded with the gang moments before the murder.

THE heartbroken fiancée of a Suffolk man gunned down on a South African garage forecourt by car-jackers has revealed she pleaded with the gang moments before the murder.

Gary Toleman, 41, formerly of Gedding, near Stowmarket, was shot last Mondayin front of fiancée Marlett Jordaan, by a group of four men in Hazyview, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Johannesburg.

Speaking to South African local newspaper Lowvelder, Ms Jordaan said she heard a gun shot from inside the garage and rushed outside, where she was confronted by the car-jackers.

"I ran outside and saw two men with balaclavas standing next to Gary. I pleaded with them not to hurt us, but a moment later I saw Gary fall to the ground," she said.

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"They could have just taken the car and not harmed us. I loved Gary with all my heart and his death has left a void in my life. I will always miss him."

Ms Jordaan and Mr Toleman's father, Ted, are expected to arrive in Suffolk from South Africa today for a funeral service in Lavenham on Friday .

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Meanwhile, Virgin entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, who funded and sailed with former powerboat champion Ted in his ultimately unsuccessful bid to become the fastest men across the Atlantic in 1985, added to the tributes paid in Gary's memory.

Speaking exclusively to the EADT, he said: "I am incredibly sad to hear the news of Gary's death. I got to know the family very well, especially his father through the Virgin Atlantic Challenger crossing, and I know Ted will be devastated.

"The family moved out to South Africa to set up a new life and this was a terrible thing to happen to them."

Detectives investigating the murder have revealed they are confident of finding the killers and Insp Phillip Fakude , of Hazyview Police, said they have compiled a detailed dossier on the men who are wanted in connection with Mr Toleman's death.

Local police, with a CID team from the nearby and larger community of Nelspruit, are both working on the case.

Insp Fakude said: "No-one has been arrested yet but we can assure everyone that the criminals will be found soon.

"We have a lot of information about the men's movements and whereabouts. The petrol attendant is a key witness. Although he didn't know the men, he has been able to give us descriptions of them.

"We have found Mr Toleman's Vauxhall Astra, which was abandoned 30 miles from the incident, and on Wednesday we found the killers' Vauxhall Vectra in a bush 20km from Hazyview.

"We are still investigating and we have taken fingerprints from both vehicles."

Mr Fakude described Hazyview as a tourist town located near the Krueger National Park, and he said the local community were in a state of shock after Mr Toleman's murder.

Mr Toleman, his twin brother Michael, and their father were all powerboat champions before the family moved to South Africa ten years ago to run a banana plantation.

Speaking after the murder, Michael Toleman said Gary had been contemplating a move back to East Anglia to be closer to his three children Alexander 18, Paul, 16, and Kara 14, who live near Colchester.

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