A domestic worker, who fought house robbers to protect a cancer sufferer and his autistic child, died on Sunday due to injuries she sustained during the attack, Netwerk24 reported.

Mita Koromong Mphinya, 66, died in the Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein. She sustained a head injury and was stabbed six times in the neck, chest and back on Friday morning when three armed men entered the home of freelance researcher and writer Herman Toerien in Langenhoven Park.

Mphinya had been working for his family twice a week for the last 17 months.

Toerien, who was diagnosed with prostate and Waldenstrom cancer, sustained a foot injury in the attack.

He told Netwerk24 that Mphinya had fought the robbers to give the rest of the people in the house a chance to escape. “They could not keep her quiet, despite all the knife wounds. When they grabbed me, she screamed even louder, and then went quiet.”

According to Toerien, the robbers smashed Mphinya’s head against a wall. She had sustained a serious head injury.

Toerien was writing when he heard Mphinya’s screams as the robbers entered the house.

“I struggled up the stairs and one came at me with a knife. I tried to close the security gate between the house and my wife Joan’s company, but I was too weak.”

He says he tried to get away, but couldn’t run and the robbers caught up with him in the dining room. “I was tied up and threatened with a knife or told I would be shot.”

Jandre, their youngest son who is autistic, untied him later. Toerien says the robbers were probably not aware that Jandre was home and ran away when he came out of his room. Jandre is 24 years old and is 1.85m tall.

Herman’s wife Joan said it was terrible that Maphinya had died so gruesomely. She described her as a friend who lived out her belief in God, and who was always friendly and always did things fast.

“She was always grateful for everything, she loved everyone, always wanted to know how everyone was doing and was our son’s best friend.”

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