Durban - A tenacious teenager, studying for his school exams, put up a brave fight when confronted by an armed intruder who broke into his home through the bathroom window and threatened to kill him - all for an iPad.
Keaton Odayan, 16, of Mountview, Pietermaritzburg managed several times to overpower his screwdriver-wielding attacker - despite sustaining over a dozen jab wounds to his body.
This was one of several attacks in KwaZulu-Natal over the past week by robbers prepared to kill for hand-held electronic devices.
When POST visited Keaton at his home on Tuesday, he said divine intervention had saved his life.
The Grade 11 Raisethorpe Secondary School pupil said he was in his bedroom studying for his exams, while his mother and grandmother were in the outbuilding, when he heard a tapping sound on the bathroom window last Tuesday afternoon.
Suspecting monkeys, common in the area, he decided to investigate, only to find an intruder wriggling through the bathroom window.
“He was coming in head first and I could see he was shocked to see me because in his haste, his foot got stuck on the window frame and he ended up falling in the bathtub,” recalled Keaton, who added that he was about two metres away from the brazen robber at the time.
“I think my instincts kicked in and I intended to approach him to try and fight him off when I noticed he had a packet in one hand and a screwdriver in the other.”
He said that after turning to run into his bedroom to find something to defend himself, the robber got up and followed.
“I could see him from the corner of my eye. He saw my iPad on the bed and tried to grab it, so I hit him and he fell, so did his beanie and the cigarette which he had behind his ear. He then got up, pushed me on to the floor and pinned me down. He was quite strong. He then started striking at me with the screwdriver, while he still held on to the packet he carried with him.”
Keaton said although he saw the man repeatedly thrust the screwdriver towards him, he did not realise it was making contact with him.
“I didn’t feel anything. I just saw his hand striking at me but assumed he had missed.”
He said the intruder then repeatedly said, “I’m going to kill you” as they both struggled on the floor.
“I was initially on my back but managed to head-butt him. In the struggle, I managed to kick him off me and this gave me a chance to try and get up.
“But as I was doing this, he jumped on to my back and started stabbing me again. As he tried to stab me on my throat, it allowed me the opportunity to grab the screwdriver.”
Both struggled to get possession of the weapon until Keaton managed to grab a hold of it and hid it under his body.
“When he realised he couldn’t get the screwdriver back, he said it was fine, I could keep it. He had other stuff in his packet to kill me with. He then tried to pass the packet from his left hand to his right, but it somehow burst and the items fell. I saw he had two pliers.”
Because the man could not grab hold of any of the items, he starting biting Keaton.
The struggle continued until the intruder ran to the kitchen and armed himself with a chair.
The teenager, who did not relent, followed him with the screwdriver in hand and then took a fork from the kitchen cupboard.
“I was trying to get the knife but ended up with the fork instead. He came towards me with the chair and slammed it against my body. He tried to strike me a second time but I managed to kick it and it fell.”
He said the intruder ran to the kitchen door, which was locked but still had the key in it.
“He told me I would not get out of here. At this stage, regardless of the situation I was in, I still felt in control.”
Keaton kicked the man, causing him to lose balance and this allowed him access to the door, which he unlocked.
The robber pushed past him and fled on to the road.
At this stage, Keaton screamed for help and his mother, grandmother and their domestic worker arrived, only to see the intruder casually walk down the road as if nothing had happened.
Keaton said he gave chase and that was when the man ran, even managing to steal a handbag from a neighbour’s open window.
Keaton’s mother said that before this, the man had tried to gain access to two other homes in the area and the police were alerted.
She said the police, who arrived with sniffer dogs, went in search off him.
A local man assisted the police by transporting them on his bakkie to get closer to the robber, who was eventually arrested.
On Tuesday, Keaton’s mother said their fear was that the police would not apprehend the suspect.
“But our neighbours were alert and also assisted in tracking the suspect.
“We’ve been living in our family home for 17 years and nothing of this nature has taken place... this area was always safe and we never expected something like this.”
Keaton, who sustained minor injuries to his hand, leg, neck, knees and arms, said he was glad the wounds were not serious and the suspect was caught.
The suspect is in custody.