Farmer (73) survives attack

2008-01-08 00:00

A 73-year-old Salt Rock farmer, David Norris-Jones, was stabbed in the back as he fled from an attacker in his home in the early hours of yesterday morning.

"My father really thought he was going to die," said Norris-Jones’s daughter, Tracy Murray, as she described his struggle with a man who also tried to strangle him, while shouting "kill, kill, kill" in Zulu.

Norris-Jones, who had a double hip replacement just six months ago, was slipping and sliding in his own blood as he fought for his life.

The attack was so violent that the knife blade broke off. "If it had been a centimetre to either side, he would have been dead," Murray said.

She said Norris-Jones had gone to bed early on Sunday evening after an electricity outage. He awoke to a noise at around 3 am and thought he had forgotten to switch off the television set. He went to investigate and found a man in the passage. When he tried to run into the kitchen to get his shotgun, the man grabbed him and stabbed him.

The intruder was shouting for cellphones, money and firearms. Norris-Jones was eventually marched outside, bleeding heavily, so the assailant could take the car.

Murray said that, somehow, her father managed to set off the car alarm. This scared off the assailant.

Norris-Jones’s gardener came to the rescue. He put a towel over the wound and tried to hold it closed as Norris-Jones desperately drove to Ballito for medical help. A friend met them at Umhlali and rushed Norris-Jones to Ballito Hospital.

He was admitted to the intensive care unit, and by late yesterday afternoon, the highly traumatised Norris-Jones’s condition had stabilised and he was released.

Police Inspector Michael Reid said a case of house breaking and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm has been opened.

He said the property’s perimeter fence and burglar bars had been cut.

A shotgun and a .22 rifle were taken from the house.

Murray said it is clear that there was more than one assailant. A cane knife was found in the bathroom.

She said one of the greatest blessings was that her mother, Div, was not at home during the attack. She was staying with a friend in Durban, while undergoing chemotherapy and radium treatment. The family waited until lunchtime yesterday for her treatment to end before telling her of the attack.

Murray said the incident was particularly distressing for her mother as she was the victim of a vicious attack by an armed gang of eight in 1999, when the couple farmed in Colenso. Div Norris-Jones and her maid were tied up, beaten, tortured and molested.

Murray said her father is well respected by the local Zulu community and is a fluent Zulu speaker.

Fellow farmers are furious about "yet another" farm attack.

Koos Marais of the Kwanalu security desk said: "Kwanalu is shocked. Now is the time for government to put in place measures to effectively address crime in this country. When will there be a turning point? Criminals do not fear the justice system. They even receive preferential treatment while the victims are left with the scars and the costs ...

"Kwanalu believes there is an urgent need for a change in mindset — not just extra members of the police force."

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