Cape Town - You’d think living near Hout Bay police station would keep you safe from crime – but Dr Andre Hough knows better.
His home has been broken into eight times in the past year. In one attack he was stabbed several times, in another his skull was cracked.
Dr Andre Hough lives diagonally opposite the police station, and his home has been broken into eight times in the past year. He was at home during three of the robberies.
Hough believes it began when the house was renovated in May last year.
“I’m convinced the builders sell the information to gangs. The housebreakers knew the layout of this place like they lived here.”
The first time, they climbed in through the upstairs balcony, where the door’s lock was weak.
Downstairs, Hough awoke to torchlight flashing around the kitchen. “I jumped out of bed and attacked. One guy came at me with a knife; I closed the door on his arm. I think I broke it. The other guy hit me on the forehead, and cracked my skull.”
They jumped out through the glass of a door. Hough stitched up his own head wound.
In the most recent attack, he wasn’t so lucky.
It was Tuesday, April 22, and he was watching Chelsea FC play Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-final.
From his couch, Hough heard the alarm beep as an outside beam was set off. He went to the front door to check, and as he released the latch, a man flew at him, shouting and stabbing.
“All he said was ‘I’m going to f***ing kill you’. It was exceptionally violent. We had a full-on battle.”
As he fought for his life, Hough kept his eyes on the blade, a long fillet knife used to cut fish. It plunged into his chest, shoulder, back and side.
Hough fell on his back with his legs up, kicking to keep his attacker at a distance.
“I asked him, ‘Why do you want to kill me?’ He stopped attacking, grabbed my cellphone and left.”
Years before, Hough had a heart operation that saved his life. Now, leaking blood across the floor, his heart medication meant that even with his fingers plugging the stab holes, his blood wouldn’t clot.
“I lost two litres of blood. I could see it pumping out of me. This place looked like a chainsaw massacre.”
When the police arrived, he told them to go upstairs to his consulting rooms and fetch a bandage, but they didn’t. Hough hauled himself up the narrow staircase and packed his stab wounds himself. It was only at hospital that surgeons could stem the blood loss.
Despite eight robberies – two of which could have killed him – he does not want to move from his home and consulting rooms.
“I don’t know how many patients I lose because they’re too afraid to come here. I’m not scared. I love this place.”