Attacker shot dead as farmer fights back

2008-05-01 00:00

A KZN farmer and his wife survived a vicious attack by two armed men during which he shot at the intruders, killing one and wounding another, at their farmhouse in Richmond on Wednesday night.

The farmer was seriously injured in the skirmish, during which he was stabbed and bitten.

David (known as DB) Warren (54) and his wife Muffy (51) were about to doze off when the attack occurred. Two intruders smashed their bedroom window, jumped on to the bed and started stabbing DB in the chest.

Before getting into bed, DB had just finished packing for a hunting trip in Pretoria that the couple were planning to take over the long weekend and so had a loaded 45 mm pistol by the side of his bed.

“It was instinct. I rolled on to the floor, screamed to my wife to take cover … by that time they were stabbing me already,” he said.

After wrestling one of the intruders on the floor, DB managed to free one hand, reach for his pistol and fire the first shot. It hit the first attacker in his groin area.

“He had enough [the first attacker] and bolted out of the bedroom into the yard,” said DB.

The second attacker continued the tussle with DB, who managed to shoot him in the chest at “point-blank range”.

He fired three or four shots into the attacker, but this did not stop the man, who was still trying to get the gun away from DB.

“By that time, I was bleeding profusely. I told my wife that she needed to do something … and then he bit me on my arm,” said DB, pointing to the bite marks on his left wrist.

Muffy looked around the room and found a lampshade. She hit the man on the head, but he did not flinch. “I think he was running on adrenaline at the time,” she said. So she hit him again. The man released his grip on her husband and fell to the floor.

A call to the paramedics and the police was made, but after waiting for what “felt like forever” in the “blood stained and upside-down bedroom”, Muffy, in order to save her husband, who was at this point struggling to breathe, decided to drive him to St Anne’s Hospital.

The attacker looked up at them and said: “Water, give me water”.

Senior Superintendent Hendry Budhram told The Witness that “when the police entered the farmer’s home, they discovered the body of an adult male in his bedroom with gunshot wounds”.

“The house was in disarray with bloodstains on the walls and floor, giving the indication that there was an altercation or struggle between the farmer and his attackers.

“The large window’s glass was smashed open, which would appear to be where entry into the house was gained. A knife was also found near the deceased.”

Yesterday, The Witness spoke to DB as he sat in his hospital bed with pipes and plasters attached to his chest. He was coughing blood and his voice was gone.

His wife had suffered bruises to her legs and body after being trampled by the attackers.

“Crime is just so totally rife it is frightening,” she said, adding that the couple shouldn’t have to say that they are lucky to be alive.

“I have two holes through my lungs; this is luck? It is just not good enough,” said DB.

He told The Witness that “the difference between me dying and surviving was the fact that I had my pistol next to me and not in my drawer. I am also very grateful to my wife, for had she not driven me to the hospital in her traumatised state, I would not have made it waiting for the paramedics.”

DB said this was the third attack on them in the past three months and he does not believe that it was a coincidence.

DB’s friend in Pretoria was attacked two months ago. “I was on the phone with him and all I heard was: ‘Don’t shoot’. A few phone calls saved his and his family’s lives. Since then I have become even more aware,” he says.

He says that he shouldn’t have to live with constant fear in a country that he has invested his life in.

Despite the fact that his plot is secured with 16 strands of electric fencing and dogs, he and his wife are not safe, he says.

Koos Marrais, spokesman for the KZN Agricultural Union Security Desk, said: “Yet another attack on vulnerable farmers — it’s time government takes a stand against violent crime in rural areas.”

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