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Durban - Locked in a bedroom of her family’s Westville North home, Ashleigh Bothma clutched on to her friend, Chevonne Maré, and listened as her father fought off three men who were attacking him with granite and concrete slabs.
Then everything went quiet. The young women heard people running through the passages and the sound of things being smashed.
“I phoned the paramedics and told them that I did not know if my parents were dead or alive and that they had better come quickly,” Ashleigh said.
The 23-year-old was speaking from the scene of the attack on Wednesday. The previous night the Bothmas had become the latest victims of a spate of vicious attacks that have plagued the Highway area in recent months. This time, though, police shot and killed one of the suspects.
Ashleigh’s 57-year-old father, John, survived the ordeal and was recovering in hospital on Wednesday.
Her mother, Sherril, 51, retold the harrowing story.
It was 10pm and she and her husband were watching television in the living room. They had armed the external security beams and heard the alarm go off. Sherril went to the kitchen and saw three men peering through the window.
“I yelled to John, grabbed Ashleigh and Chevonne and ran into a bedroom,” she said. “By that time the men were outside the dining room window. John ran towards them, shouting, but they appeared unfazed. They picked up a granite slab and smashed the window.”
After waiting for a few minutes Sherril ventured out to see what had happened to her husband. Two of the men were standing over John with a slab of concrete.
“I thought he was done for.”
Sherril locked her daughter and Chevonne in the bedroom and, cellphone in hand, headed for the street.
She phoned the police and waited in the road.
In the meantime, Ashleigh phoned paramedics and left the bedroom to check on her father.
The attackers had fled. They had disconnected the television, but dumped it outside. Nothing was stolen.
“There was blood everywhere,” Ashleigh recalled.
Westville police as well as the metro police dog unit responded to the incident.
Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said police followed the suspects into the New Germany nature reserve, near the M19 freeway. A brief exchange of gunfire ensued and one suspect was bitten by a police dog and shot. He died at the scene. The other suspects escaped.
Zwane said a case of house robbery had been opened and that the suspect’s death was reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for investigation.
Meanwhile, John Bothma had numerous gashes to his head. Paramedics took him to St Augustine’s Hospital in Glenwood, where he was held for observation.
A police source said it was suspected that the intruders were also responsible for similar incidents in the area recently. - The Mercury