‘My angel‚ you can cry’ widow recalls Byleveld’s final words at memorial
Shenaaz Jamal | 2017-06-01 12:28:22.0
WEDDING DAY: Right, Piet Byleveld and his wife, Elize Smit, on their wedding day, as featured in You magazine on December 22 last year. Below, how we broke the story about the wedding ring on February 12
Image by: Supplied
Piet Byleveld’s widow‚ Elize‚ could not hold back her tears as the top cop’s casket was ushered into the Rosebank Union Church‚ where Byleveld’s memorial was held on Thursday.
Family and friends comforted each other as heartwarming letters from his loved ones were read out.
In her hand-written note‚ Elize recalled his last words to her: “My angel‚ you can cry … don’t keep your emotions in‚ otherwise you will bottle up”.
His widow recalled how she woke him up with a cup of coffee every morning and how he spoke of things that made him happy and made him sad.
Flowers filled the stage and his casket‚ adorned with flowers‚ sat centre-stage with pictures of him on either side.
“The funeral bed is actually such a beautiful thing. It is a place where you surrender everything to God‚” said the memorial programme director‚ Natalia Strydom.
Byleveld succumbed to cancer last Wednesday at the Wilgeheuwel clinic in Roodepoort.
He was known as the “man hunter” and regarded as one of the country’s top detectives.
Byleveld’s colleague Walter Hirzebruch described him as a compassionate man who was always good to people – including suspects.
“His humanity never failed‚ not even in the face of evil‚” said prosecutor Herman Broodryk.
The sleuth was remembered for his dark suits and survival on cigarettes‚ Coke and Grandpa headache sachets.
“He never slept but was always alert and he had the worst handwriting that was never legible‚” said Broodryk.
Byleveld was always prepared to take on the most difficult cases.
“State advocates lined up to do his cases. In later years‚ he became fussy about who his state prosecutor would be‚” said Broodryk.
He had so many serial murder cases‚ he was allocated an office in the high court.
“He always remained calm in the witness box and never lost his temper. He also charmed the female prosecutor with his smile‚” Broodryk recalled.