• Austria's news in English

Murdered Austrian nun 'may have been raped'

AFP/The Local · 23 Apr 2015, 12:51

Published: 23 Apr 2015 12:51 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The body of Sister Gertrud Tiefenbacher from the Sacred Heart Home convent in the village of Ixopo, southwest of Durban, was discovered in her room on Saturday.

Police said her hands were tied with an electric typewriter cord and she had been suffocated with a towel.

"It is also suspected that the victim was raped before she was killed," a statement said.

An undisclosed amount of foreign currency was taken from Tiefenbacher's room, as well as a vacuum cleaner, sugar and rice. 

The killing has shocked the small village, which is the setting for Alan Paton's famous novel Cry the Beloved Country.

A close friend, 85-year-old Better Firmstone, told a local newspaper that Tiefenbacher taught children at a missionary school and loved her work.

"Police have not made any arrests in connection with the crime. The search is ongoing," police spokesman Thulani Zwane said.

Zwane said Tiefenbacher came to South Africa 50 years ago and had spent all her time working for the Roman Catholic Church. She was originally from Kirchberg an der Pielach in Lower Austria. 

Regional police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni described the murder as "barbaric", urging the community to help police arrest the suspect.

Rape is a common crime in South Africa, with 662,649 cases reported in 2013/14, according to official crime statistics.

Story continues below…

The murder came as the South African government mobilised soldiers to keep the peace in areas hit by a spate of violent attacks targeting immigrants.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (rosie.waites@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Verdict on swimming pool rape case overturned
The Theresienbad swimming pool in Vienna. Photo: Wikimedia

An Iraqi refugee who was jailed after claiming it was a sexual emergency when he raped a boy in a swimming pool has had the sentence overturned.

Vienna Comic Con promises to be 'bigger and more galactic'
Cosplay star Yaya Han. Copyright: Yaya Han/Bryan Humphrey

Comic Con returns to the Austrian capital on November 19th-20th at the Messe Wien.

Three refugees arrested on drugs charges
Cannabis plants. Photo: J. Patrick Bedell/Wikimedia

A gang of three Afghani drug dealers has been busted in Vienna.

Hungarian woman crushed by snowcat piste machine
Snowcat machine. Photo: Melensdad/Wikimedia

A young Hungarian woman has died after being crushed by a snowcat piste machine on the Dobratsch mountain in Carinthia.

Austrian policeman sentenced over 'Heil Hitler' salute
Photo: Flickr

A policeman in Austria was sentenced on Thursday for shouting "Heil Hitler" at a driver during a traffic check at the Hungarian border in April.

Scary clown craze endangers crucial work of clown 'doctors'
Photo: Bojan Tavcar

Within the last couple weeks, disturbing events involving masked individuals has caught public attention in Austria.

Chimney sweep rescues lost mushroom picker
Photo: James Lindsey/Wikimedia

A 76-year-old Austrian man who went out mushroom picking almost froze to death after getting lost and spending the night in the forest.

Refugees sold into forced prostitution
File photo: UNHCR

Female refugees are being sold into forced prostitution in Austria, a police investigation into human trafficking has found.

Driverless bus takes a spin around Salzburg's old town
The Arma driverless shuttle bus. Photo: Navya

A driverless minibus has made a test journey in the city of Salzburg.

No jail time for asylum seeker who dumped baby in road
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A man who grabbed his own child and dumped her in the middle of a busy road has been given a nine-month suspended sentence.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available