UPDATED: Retired Aylesbury postman ‘murdered’ in South Africa

Robert Mandley
Robert Mandley

A postman who retired to South Africa for a better life has been allegedly murdered as he moved house.

Robert Mandley, 66, was moving into a new flat in Johannesburg, on April 20, when it is thought that the men helping him to move house attacked him.

For someone in the later years of his life, he had every right to expect them to be happy

Chris Mandley

It is believed that as Mr Mandley tried to fight off one of the attackers, the other beat him on the head, causing injuries from which he died.

After killing Mr Mandley the attackers left with his wallet, mobile phone and other personal belongings.

One man has been arrested by South African authorities, and a second is being hunted by police. No one has yet been charged.

Mr Mandley, an army veteran who served in the Northern Ireland conflict, moved from Weedon to South Africa with his wife Valerie in 2008.

Sadly Valerie, a South African national, died from cancer six months later, but Mr Mandley made friends, and enjoyed spending time with her family.

His brother Chris, 59, who lives in Southcourt with his wife Thandi (also a South African national) was on holiday in Zimbabwe when he heard about his brother’s murder.

He said: “We have a house over there and usually use all of our holiday in one go. We arrived at the end of March, and he was murdered on April 20. So I took care of everything that end, and my sister took care of everything here in Aylesbury.”

Mr Mandley’s body arrived back in Aylesbury today (Thursday) and Bucks’ coroner will now schedule an inquest into his death.

Mr Mandley was born in Aylesbury in 1949 and attended Quarrendon School (now Aylesbury Vale Academy).

He joined the army in 1964 and was part of the local regiment the Royal Green Jackets.

During his time in service he was posted to Norway, Bermuda, Belize, Gibraltar and Northern Ireland where he witnessed the Bloody Sunday fighting.

After he left the army in 1976 he joined Hazells in Aylesbury as an adult apprentice bookbinder, and worked there until it closed.

Before he retired Mr Mandley was a postman, working out of Aylesbury sorting office on a round which covered the Cottesloe Road and Walton Court areas.

A lover of outdoor pursuits, he was a member of the Aylesbury Fly Fishing Club and loved attending the Bucks County Show.

One of five children he leaves behind brothers Chris, Nick and Don Mandley, and sisters Sheila Mandley and Dianne Ateem.

Chris added: “The older members of our family have all enjoyed a long life.

“For somebody in his later years of life, he had every right to expect them to be happy. All he was doing was moving house, he was a quiet man and kept himself to himself, and for something like this to happen to him is just terrible.”

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in South Africa.

“We are providing the family with consular assistance at this sad time.”

A special tribute to Mr Mandley, which all of his siblings shared on Facebook read: “On April 20 2015 your life was cruelly taken away in the country that you had made your home for the past few years.

“Ever since we heard this terrible news, we have worked unceasingly to bring you back home as quickly as possible.

“Finally, you are in safe hands, and today you will start your long journey back to us so that we may say goodbye to you with all the love and respect you deserve.”

Chris said: “I would like to thank everyone who has helped us, The High Commission in Pretoria, Sara Morris HM Consul, Paresh Mistry our Consular Officer and Liason. And all the family and friends that rallied around in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

“I would like to thank the Victim Support Homicide Team, Cathy, Adele and Laura, they have been brilliant. We would rather that donations be made to them rather than buying flowers. Reg Charity No: 298028. www.victimsupport.org.uk.”

He added: “Also a special thanks for going the extra mile Neil at Thom Kight our Funeral Directors in South Africa and Duncan at Churchview Funeral Directors in Aylesbury, They were sympathetic and very helpful and made a logistical nightmare so so smooth.

“Without All their support we would still be in South Africa trying to pick our way through the system.”