Pensioner takes on attackers

2012-06-14 00:00

DESPITE being shot in both legs, 70-year-old Athlone pensioner Bryan Speirs managed to crawl to his bed, grab his own gun, and fir at his assailants, scaring them into letting his wife, Irene go.

The intruders — who had smashed their way into the couple’s home in Old Howick Road in the early hours of yesterday morning — fled the scene with only a cellphone.

Speirs’s son-in-law, Alain Baert, believes his father-in-law’s brave action saved the couple’s lives.

It was the second time that intruders had entered the Speirs’s house in Old Howick Road in the space of two weeks.

What was most worrying was that this time the assailants brazenly smashed their way in through a glass patio door at about 1.30 am using a dumbbell, and immediately opened fire on Bryan Speirs as he got up to investigate.

When he fell to the ground, they turned their attention to Irene Speirs and the gunman pointed his weapon at her.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the gunman had ordered Irene Speirs to unplug the television and video recording equipment. The other robber started to ransack the bedroom for valuables.

Meanwhile, despite his serious injuries, Speirs managed to crawl to his bedside without the attackers noticing, got hold of his gun and fired.

The men fled the scene, taking Irene Speirs’s cellphone with them.

Baert said Bryan Speirs had kept his firearm near him that night because of the previous break-in.

If he hadn’t been armed, Baert said, the couple may well have been murdered.

“What concerns the police is that these people [the assailants] were very professional and violent. They just started shooting without asking any questions.”

Baert said on the earlier occasion his parents-in-law had left a door open through which the intruders entered the house at night.

The difference was that they had run away as soon as the couple woke up.

Police believe it is possible the intruders returned yesterday to get what they wanted.

Baert said Bryan Speirs was due to undergo surgery yesterday afternoon to repair bones in his legs which were “smashed” by a bullet that passed through one leg, and into the other.

He said his father-in-law was “pretty fit”, but the injuries were serious and would take time to heal.

Baert said his mother-in-law was still very shocked yesterday and did not seem to be fully aware of everything that had happened.

His wife, Sacche, was at her parents’ side.

Baert said his in-laws are well-known people in Pietermaritzburg. His mother-in-law works for Pam Golding estates and his father-in-law is a retired millwright who worked for many years for the South African Railways.

They have five adult children, two of whom live in Pietermaritzburg, one in Durban, one in Australia and another in the United States.

Jeevan said anyone with information should call Sergeant Sagran Naidoo at 033 845 7789 or 076 027 4593, or anonymously call Crime Stop toll-free at 08600 10111.

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