A farmer in Nigel died after he was assaulted and his vehicle set alight, badly burning him in the process, according to officials on Friday.

The 44-year-old man, identified as Johan Pretorius by Netwerk24, was believed to have been hit with a pick-axe handle several times over the head and suffered blows to his body at around 19:30 on Thursday, said Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Johannes Ramphora.

He added that Pretorius apparently tried to run away but ended up with burn wounds. Police are investigating whether he was in the vehicle at the time.

Monitor 24 Security owner Deon Pretorius (no relation) told News24 they received a call that a bakkie was on fire.

When they arrived at the scene, they found the body of a badly burned man lying next to the vehicle.

“We found some tools that were used in the fight, including the handle of a pick-axe. One of his shoes was lying on one side and his glasses on the other. It looked like there was a scuffle,” said Deon.

“We think that after beating [him] up, they put him in the vehicle … and he tried to get out but didn’t make it.”

Ramphora said they were investigating a murder case. No arrests have been made.

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