Witness Describes Terror of Western Cape Farm Attack and Murder of Heila Kilian

Five men stood in court today accused of the brutal execution of Heila Kilian in April 2018 on a homestead just outside Stilbaai (Still Bay) in the Western Cape, South Africa. Witness Shaun Vorster described the terror and torture of the night’s events.

Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Heila Kilian, 63, who was shot dead on a farm outside Stilbaai in April 2018

The crime – almost two years ago – was so horrific it shook South Africa and made headlines internationally, especially since it took place on the farm of a British engineer David Thomas (68) whose wife Brenda was Heila’s sister.

David and Brenda had welcomed Heila to their homestead just a day before she was killed in cold blood.

Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
The farm house owned by British engineer David Thomas, 68, near Still Bay in South Africa where Heila Kilian was shot dead.
Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Heila Kilian, 63, (left) arrives at George Airport in South Africa to be greeted by her sister Brenda Thomas, now 63, to stay at their farmhouse in 2018 the day before Helia was shot dead.
Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Murdered Heila Kilian, 63, (right) on the day before her death in April 2018 enjoying lunch with her sister Brenda Thomas, 63, in a photo taken by her brother in law David Thomas, 68.
Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Murdered Heila Kilian, 63, chilling with her sister Brenda Thomas, 63, when she was murdered in South Africa in 2018

Father-of-two David had been playing the guitar as family friend and tenant Shaun Vorster, 53, cooked chicken kebabs for the group of four over open coals. They had just served up at 10pm.


Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Murdered Heila Kilian, 63, and sister Brenda Thomas, now 63, at a braai in South Africa just minutes before she was shot dead by a gang of armed robbers with family friend Shaun Vorster who gave evidence against the gang

Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay

Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay

Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
THE LAST PHOTO: Sisters Heila and Brenda Thomas hugging at the braai, just minutes before she was shot

As the happy group toasted each other with glasses of red wine, a gang of five men – wearing orange boiler suits with balaclavas and masks – suddenly appeared out of the darkness with guns.

A moving video taken by David, just minutes before Heila was murdered, shows her and her sister Brenda toasting him with glasses of red wine as Shaun cooks the food.

WATCH VIDEO: Heila Kilian’s final joyful moments on evening of farm attack, April 2018

Shortly after this footage ends fun-loving mother-of-four Heila was dead.

Mossel Bay High Court in Western Province heard that one of the men raised a pistol and walked up behind unsuspecting Heila and shot her dead from behind with a single shot.

She collapsed instantly with a bullet straight through her heart onto the dinner table as the armed gang then attacked terrified David and his wife Brenda, and their friend Shaun.

The three survivors were put through two hours of torture and beatings until Brenda managed to bravely escape and the gang panicked and fled in David’s stolen Toyota Hilux.

South African Police released this CCTV image of the gang
South African Police released this CCTV image of the gang believed responsible for the murder of Heila Kilian, 63, stopping to refuel in the Toyota Hilux they stole from David Thomas after the killing at his farm

They had forced Shaun to open his safe under threat of death, and escaped with a number of hunting rifles, a shotgun, a pistol, hunting knives, £1,600 in cash and Brenda’s jewellery

Heila was left lying by the braai as David and Shaun tried to free themselves from their bonds to then raise the alarm summoning the police.

Shaun Vorster’s testimony: “I could see fear in his eyes”

Shaun told the court: “David was playing gospel music on his guitar and the ladies were sharing cell phones photos; and I saw him just stand up and drop his guitar.

“I could see fear in his eyes, and at same time heard voices behind me, and turned round, and the attackers came straight for us; and they had firearms that were pointed straight at us.

“I dropped the casserole I was holding and they were on top of me and had a knee pushed into my back and a firearm pushed into the back of my head until I was on the ground.

“I was told not to move and my mouth and nose was in the sand, my arm up behind my back and then I heard a gunshot go off and then a sound like someone letting out a deep breath.

“I could hear David screaming in the background like a man being hurt and in a lot of pain.

“We were tied up with a sort of wire and I could hear them hitting David on his head asking where the money was – thumping noises followed by excessive noises showing his pain.

“I opened the safe but they just kept beating and beating until Brenda escaped, and then they were gone and David and I got free and I raised the alarm at another farm” he said.

Police and paramedics raced to the remote farm but nothing could be done to save Heila who was certified dead at the scene from a single gunshot that perforated her heart.

The accused five

Sakhumzi Benya, 29, Nkosihethu Nocuza, 25, Msomi Nikani, 25, Monwabisi Maki, 23, and Xolusani Myoyi, 29, appeared before Judge Lister Nuku charged with her brutal murder.

farm murder accused men suspects stilbaai mossel bay
3 of the men accused of murder of Helia Kilian at Mossel Bay High Court: L to R Msomi Nikani, 25. Monwabisi Maki, 23. Xolusani Myoyi, 29.
farm murder accused men suspects stilbaai mossel bay
The 5 men accused of murder of Helia Kilian at Mossel Bay High Court: 1. Sakhumzi Benya, 29. 2. Nkosihethu Nocuza, 25. 3. Msomi Nikani, 25. 4 Monwabisi Maki, 23. 5. Xolusani Myoyi, 29.

farm murder accused men suspects stilbaai mossel bay

All five pleaded not guilty and also denied robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and malicious damage to property and to theft.

They all face a minimum life sentence behind bars if found guilty of the charges.

David, originally from Surrey, and the group were attacked at Gazania Farm which he ran as a coffee shop and Christian drop in centre.

Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
The farm in Still Bay, South Africa, once owned by British engineer David Thomas and wife Brenda where her sister was shot dead in April 2018
Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
David Thomas, 68, and wife Brenda, 63, at the farm in South Africa where her sister Heila Kilian was shot dead

As reported in the UK press, the farm is a four hour drive from Cape Town on the Garden Route… and popular with tourists.

Divorced David met South African-born Brenda when she was working at a school in Dubai, and he was working for a US corporation, and they married seven years ago on a visit to the UK.

Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Collage of pics made by Brenda Thomas, 63, of her with sister Heila Kilian, 63, after she was shot dead in 2018 at a farmhouse in South Africa
Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
British engineer David Thomas, 68, and wife Brenda, 63.
Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Murdered Heila Kilian, 63, on the day of her death in April 2018 enjoying lunch with her sister Brenda Thomas, 63, in a selfie photo taken by her British engineer brother in law David Thomas, 68.

Churchgoing David is a father-of-two grown up sons who live in the UK and divorcee Brenda has a grown up son from a previous marriage.

They left South Africa after the murder.

Murdered Heila from Springs, near Johannesburg, was a loving mother-of-four grown up children and married to Hein, 76, a retired South African Police anti-riot squad commander.

Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Murdered Helia Kilian, 63, with her daughter Marika
Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Murdered Heila Kilian, 63, with her former riot police commander husband Hein, now 68, who is in court for the trial of five men accused of her killing.
Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Heila Kilian with husband Hein, 67, who is a retired South African Police Service riot unit commander, who was not with her at the time of her murder in 2018

According to the Daily Mail, in 2019 there were 552 attacks on outlying farms in South Africa affecting over 1,000 people, some of whom were tortured with hot irons, blow torches and power tools with 57 murdered.

Farm murder trial Heila Kilian Stilbaai south africa Mossel Bay
Murdered Heila Kilian, 63, on the day of her death in April 2018 enjoying lunch in a photo taken by her brother in law David Thomas, 68.

Heila’s sister Brenda and brother-in-law David will give their eye witness evidence later in the trial.

Please Note: To use any of these photos please contact Jamie Pyatt News Ltd here.