These were the subtle but despondent  words of one of the victims before the gun was let loose “Ben is getting out of hand,” Leonara le Roux Dorfling, 36, messaged her sister, Lana le Roux, on Saturday after getting death threats from her estranged husband.

She also wrote on WhatsApp: “It feels as though I am going to end up in hospital.”

Hours later Benjamin Dorfling, 42, shot and killed her on a smallholding near Polokwane.

They were in the process of getting divorced.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said Benjamin also shot and killed Leonara’s brother Marthinus le Roux, 39, in the same house.

Benjamin then turned the gun on himself.

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but we suspect that domestic violence had led to the tragedy.”

Leonara’s daughter from a previous relationship, Jessica Prinsloo, 15, apparently saw Benjamin shoot himself in the kitchen.

Lana said Jessica had been visiting friends who live nearby on Saturday evening, and suddenly heard shots.

“She ran home. When she got there, she saw Ben shoot himself in the kitchen.

“She then found her mother and uncle’s bodies in their bedrooms.”

Ngoepe says a firearm was found next to Benjamin’s body.

“She phoned me last week and said Ben was phoning Marthinus and her, saying he was going to kill them.”

Benjamin’s son from a previous marriage, Thys, 16, has now lost both of his parents to suicide. His mother killed herself a number of years ago.