IN a horrific double tragedy in Port Elizabeth yesterday, a three-year-old boy was stabbed 28 times with a kitchen knife by his mother, who then hanged herself in their Bethelsdorp home.
Just minutes before the tragic incident, the mother of Angelique Kettledas, 29, received an SMS from her daughter saying she had given up and was going to end her life.
A panic-stricken Harriet Booysen sent Kettledas’s uncle, Lorens Booysen, who lives just 2km away, to check on her – but it was too late. He found Kettledas hanging from a rope in the passage of her Gondola Crescent home, while her son, Giovanni, lay in a pool of blood on the bed.
Police spokesman Captain Stanley Jarvis said both mother and son were dead when emergency personnel arrived.
Jarvis said that according to her family, Kettledas had a history of severe depression.
She lived with Giovanni and her husband, Devandré, in one of two small outbuildings on the property, which also has a main house.
Jarvis said police had spoken to him briefly at the scene.
He said Booysen had entered the house through a bathroom window when nobody answered the door.
"He first found the child lying in a pool of blood on the bed and then her [Kettledas].”
Booysen ran out of the house, screaming for nearby residents to call the police.
A tenant on the property, who did not want to be named, said she was awoken by Booysen’s screams at about 9am.
"He was banging and screaming and I went outside to find out what was going on. I told him I had seen her on Sunday,” she said.
"I then went back inside. The next thing he came to me, asking to call the police.”
Police at the scene said it appeared Kettledas had stabbed her son before flinging a nylon rope over a wooden beam attached to the roof and hanging herself.
According to them, Giovanni was stabbed 28 times.
Tenant Richard Kopp, 51, who lives in the main house, described Kettledas as a "quiet and nice woman who kept to herself”.
"I arrived home and just saw police cars and ambulances outside the house. I am very shocked over this incident,” he said.
"She seemed down and depressed most of the time but kept to herself and didn’t get involved with things happening around her – very much a loner.”
One of the neighbours said: "We don’t know much because she kept to herself most of the time, but from just talking to her briefly on past occasions it seemed as if their marriage was taking strain.”
Kettledas’s mother refused to comment.
Booysen, who works night shift, could not be reached.