Heroic rescue from robbers

2009-06-10 00:00

THE quick-thinking actions of an alert neighbour saved a 64-year-old wo­man who was assaulted, throttled and robbed at knife-point by two men, who prowled into her home while she was asleep yesterday morning.

The neighbour fired warning shots when he heard pensioner, Tholsie Pillay, screaming for help after two robbers, one wielding a bushknife, broke into her house and ransacked all her rooms, packed up her groceries and linen and taking R120 of her pension money.

She is traumatised, has bruised and swollen lips and is believed to have a broken rib.

Pillay was asleep at her house at number 192 Springvale Road in Bombay Heights at 1.30 am, when she was awoken by noises coming from inside the house. “When I woke up, two men were standing beside my bed. One of them throttled me with a cloth and hit me on my mouth, face and body with his fists.”

With a bush knife in his hand, one of the men dragged Pillay out of the bed and ordered her to lie on the floor. According to Pillay, another man was busy in the other rooms on the ground floor ransacking and packing goods. A suitcase filled with linen sheets, irons and five litres of cooking oil were found in the driveway.

Scared and traumatised, the pensioner screamed for help.

One of the neighbours, who prefers to be known only as Mahem, said the sound of dogs barking woke him up. “I heard dogs barking and when I listened carefully I heard banging of doors. Shortly after that, I heard Pillay screaming for help. I opened the window and I could see they were beating her.”

Mahem reacted swiftly and called Pillay’s son and the police. “She was screaming and calling my name, then I decided to fire warning shots to scare them off.” The suspects ran away at the sound of gunfire, leaving the packed goods in the driveway. They managed to take Pillay’s cash. “I am glad that she is okay; she might have died,” said Mahem.

Police and paramedics responded swiftly, but the suspects had escaped.

Pillay was treated on the scene and her family took her away.

She was traumatised by the incident, and her family have moved her from the house following the incident. The suspects are believed to have been monitoring the house before they broke-in.

Pillay’s daughter, Shamane Gavrapersad, said her mother has been staying alone since her husband died seven years ago. “It’s people who knew she was on her own. We have always been concerned about her staying alone, even though there have been no incidents. We take this as a near-miss. For her safety and our sanity, she is better off with family.”

Police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram, said the suspects forced their way through the back door. It is believed they used Pillay’s garden tools to open the door.

Police have asked anyone with information to contact Detective Inspector Vusi Shabangu of the Mountain Rise Detective Service at 033 387 9600 or 083 308 0234

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