Woman could have been body No 4

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hijack follow INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Zina Rotherham helps a police sketch artist put together the identikit of the man who shot and wounded her in Alexandra last week. Photo: Handout/Supplied

Zina Rotherham was the fourth person to be attacked by an armed robber in Alexandra, Joburg, last week.

The other three people are dead.

After hearing about the fatal attacks, her husband, radio personality Paul Rotherham, realises that he could have been planning a funeral this week.

Instead, he’s launched a fight-back to get the man who hijacked his wife, shooting her in the hand and the stomach, brought to book – before he kills others.

Zina was shot on London Road in Alexandra on Wednesday at 5.25pm after dropping off family friend and radio morning show host Kieno Kammies at the Gautrain railway station.

“The forensics guy told me that the bullet that hit Zina in the stomach and ended up lodged in her hip lost most of its power coming through the dashboard, that’s how close it was,” said Rotherham.

Zina, who helped a police artist draw up an identikit of her attacker before being discharged from hospital, was at home on Sunday.

“She’s got pins and things in her hand, and we don’t know how well that will heal; there are weeks, maybe months, of physio ahead,” said Rotherham.

“There’s a long journey, but the biggest will be the emotional and mental one. We’re taking all the counselling we can get.”

Rotherham’s father was hijacked in 1995 but chose not to go for counselling. “There are still triggers today, almost 20 years later, that set him off.

“We don’t want to go down the same route.”

Rotherham is very conscious that his celebrity status has afforded him and his wife far more attention than perhaps other crime victims, which is why he’s determined his wife’s shooter will not go unpunished.

The radio personality had never intended to use social media, but was forced to after news of his wife’s attack went viral on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

“I actually wanted to keep it quiet, but I had to post on Twitter and Facebook, when it looked like people were getting the wrong message and at one stage it looked like I’d been shot too!”

The ensuing support was overwhelming.

“I’ve had to switch off my phone’s Twitter and Facebook facilities because the number of messages has actually been crashing it.”

The messages of support, many from people neither of the couple have met, had been phenomenal, he said.

They were critically important to help his wife get over her ordeal.

“It’s been very emotional for both of us to read that other people are thinking of us and keeping her in their prayers.”

This has hardened the couple’s determination to make sure her attacker is caught, because Rotherham is convinced the gunman is operating with impunity on a very busy route within the township, used by thousands of commuters every day.

“If Zina’s attacker remains on the streets, there’s a good chance he will do this again and the victim may not be so lucky,” Rotherham said.

* Detective Constable Seila Malaka of the Alexandra/Wynberg SAPS is the investigating officer.

He can be contacted at 083 529 2309.

The Star

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