Ashburton up in arms over crime

2011-02-14 00:00

WHILE the family and friends of Ashburton murder victim Bob Hudson-Bennett prepared for his well-attended funeral on Saturday, a gang of robbers struck again in the same street late on Friday night, but fortunately no one suffered life-threatening injuries in the incident.

Police are investigating the possibility that the same gang may have been responsible for both attacks.

Residents in the area were woken at about 11.30 pm to spine-chilling screams for help coming from the home of Elvis Chetty and his wife, Cinthy. Calls flooded in to the police emergency call centre from a number of the residents in the normally quiet cul-de-sac, who responded to the desperate cries echoing through the darkness across the thornveld from the house on top of a hill.

The cries were those of the couple’s gardener, Joshua Mavhima, who was attacked in his room, which adjoins the main house, but has a separate entrance.

A still clearly traumatised Mavhima told The Witness on Saturday he was asleep when a gang of seven to eight youths burst into his room, dived on top of him in his bed and began beating him up. They were demanding keys to the house and asking him where they could find money. They also wanted information about how many occupants there were in the house, he said.

Mavhima said the gang took a small sum of money as well as his cellphone.

They pushed a cloth into his mouth to gag him and then tied his hands and feet with electric cord.

One man was left to guard him while the others went outside, but he did not know what they were doing there. After a while things went quiet and Mavhima said he realised the gang must have left.

He began “kicking” and struggled to free himself from his bonds and eventually got the gag out of his mouth. He succeeded in rolling himself off the bed, and out of his door onto the lawn outside and began shouting for help.

Chetty said he and his wife notified the police and their alarm company, but were afraid to go outside until they arrived in case of an ambush.

Police were quickly on the scene, as was the armed response vehicle, and rescuers rushed to Mavhima’s aid, cut his bonds and summoned an ambulance to take him to hospital to be treated for shock, minor injuries and bruises.

Chetty showed The Witness a section of his 1,8-metre high fence that had been cut to give the gang access to the property.

He said he also called in police two days earlier after an intruder was spotted on the balcony of his double-storey home. Members of the dog unit tried to trace the spoor but no one was arrested, to his knowledge.

Chetty was also a victim of a break-in last October when he lost a lot of computer equipment.

Local residents are up in arms over the sudden escalation of crime in the area. Residents, who have been living in the vicinity for 20 years, said this is the first time they have felt threatened.

According to police sources, numerous burglaries have been reported of late in the Ashburton area, which falls under the control of Alexandra police station.

Local residents are planning a meeting to discuss the upsurge in crime.

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