Elderly woman killed with her own defence weapon

2013-11-18 00:00

AN elderly woman from Athlone Park in Amanzimtoti, Edda Jumaima Botha (75), was apparently beaten to death with the pick handle she kept next to her bed to protect herself.

Botha and her husband, Bram, were attacked in their home by four men who demanded money and car keys at round 2 am on Saturday morning.

The men fled with two cellphones and a cordless phone. Police are still hunting for the suspects. The intruders dropped the pick handle in the yard before they fled.

A neighbour, Murray McGoldrick, said he was awakened by his barking dogs and Bram’s scream: “Somebody please help. My wife is bleeding to death”.

The frail Bram was in the lounge where the attackers had apparently told him to sit and keep quiet.

McGoldrick said he flagged down a police reservist vehicle that was driving past.

He said the reservist tried to call 10111 but apparently the radio control room failed to broadcast the message for police to attend the scene.

Botha was lying in a pool of blood in her bedroom.

McGoldrick said the ambulance took 45 minutes to arrive.

“Imagine being there and not being able to save your wife. It’s a senseless killing. It’s a hell of a price to pay for just cellphones.”

He said he would see Botha every morning when he went to work and that she had spent much time in her garden if she was not cleaning her yard or going shopping.

For neighbours, the incident has come as a terrible shock.

Another neighbour, Marlene, who only gave The Witness her first name, said residents want the nearby bushes to be cut.

“The thieves just hop from yard to yard and then dive into the bushes. They’re so fast. You can’t even leave your garage door open any more,” she said.

She said just last month she had been chatting to Botha about looking for a retirement home and Botha mentioned that it worked out cheaper to live at home.

Philisiwe Cele, who moved into the neighbourhood in 2010, said she had lost her dear neighbour.

Cele recalled that Botha was the first person to come and welcome them. “I was pregnant at that time and when my baby was born she knitted her a pink jersey and every year she’d bring my baby girl presents for her birthday and toys for Christmas. She was full of life,” she said..

Responding to the allegation that police had not broadcast the 10111 message, police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said police were unaware of the allegations that the 10111 call centre did not dispatch anyone to the scene. He said they would request those that made the allegations to come forward so that they can investigate.

“We always advise people to always keep all emergency numbers at hand, including police, ambulance, fire etc. Test these numbers regularly especially if you are using cellphone technology as we found in many instances that these numbers are not programmed by the telephone service provider and those calls could be directed to other police stations in the province or even out of the province.”

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