Tragedy for Suffolk racing family
A SON of former Suffolk motor-racing boss Ted Toleman has been killed in a horrific car jacking in South Africa.Gary Toleman, 41, formerly from Gedding near Stowmarket, was murdered in cold blood in front of his terrified fiancée after being dragged from his pick-up vehicle by a gang of four men.
A SON of former Suffolk motor-racing boss Ted Toleman has been killed in a horrific car jacking in South Africa.
Gary Toleman, 41, formerly from Gedding near Stowmarket, was murdered in cold blood in front of his terrified fiancée after being dragged from his pick-up vehicle by a gang of four men.
The tragedy happened in the small community of Hazy View, a two-and-a-half hour drive from Johannesburg, at around 9pm on Monday.
Mr Toleman's twin brother Michael has told of the family's shock and devastation at the murder.
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"It was just an absolutely senseless killing," he said. "Gary did not put up a fight and he gave them the keys to his car – but they shot him anyway.
"It seems to just be the way things are out there. It has come as a massive shock to the whole family."
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The tragedy unfolded after Gary and his fiancée Marlett pulled into a petrol station and were followed by four men in a Blue Vauxhall Vectra.
"Marlett went into the garage to buy a loaf of bread while Gary stayed in the car," said Michael, who lives in Bacton.
"Two men got out of the Vectra, dragged Gary from the car, put him over the bonnet and insisted on the keys being handed over, which Gary did.
"I believe a warning shot was fired because Marlett came running out of the garage. By that time, they had the gun in Gary's mouth.
"Marlett shouted 'please don't, please don't', but they shot him anyway. After the gang had taken Gary's car the immobiliser kicked in just down the road and the vehicle was abandoned.
"It was a totally needless and incredibly cold-blooded killing."
The Toleman family are well known in Suffolk – both Gary and Michael are former powerboat champions, as was their father Ted.
And Ted hit the headlines in 1985 after he was caught up in a dramatic rescue effort as his bid to become the fastest man across the Atlantic – backed financially by Sir Richard Branson – ended in disaster.
His £1.5 million Virgin Atlantic Challenger was smashed by a succession of huge waves and debris as it raced towards the finishing line off the Scilly Isles.
Ted also founded the Toleman Formula One Racing Team, which launched the career of legendary Brazillian driver Ayrton Senna, before it was sold to Benetton.
Ten years ago the whole family moved to South Africa to run a banana plantation, but Michael and his family returned because of the escalating violence in the country.
Gary's ex-wife Penny and his three children Alexander, 18, Paul, 16, and Kara, 14, also returned and now live near Colchester.