Police fail attacked farmer (73)

2008-01-12 00:00

Salt Rock farmer David Norris Jones, who was stabbed and almost strangled to death in the early hours of Monday morning, was still waiting for police to arrive to take a statement, yesterday morning.

"They haven’t been near me — no calls, no nothing," the distressed 73-year-old told Weekend Witness. He said there is little he can do as he is "house bound" while the deep stab wound in his shoulder heals.

Norris-Jones had woken up to investigate a noise. He was wounded as he tried to flee and grab a shotgun to defend himself.

"Nothing that has happened to me in my life comes close to what I went through.

"To be sleeping in what you thought was a safe house and then to leave your bedroom yawning, only to have a guy running at you with a knife. You cannot describe it. The actual tussle during which he stabbed me doesn’t matter," said Norris-Jones.

"It would give me some comfort to know that at least the police are on my side," he added.

He said it seems that his greatest mistake was phoning the Umhlali police instead of the Stanger police.

But frantically calling for help with a young gardener desperately holding a rolled up towel over the wound to staunch the heavy bleeding, made for a situation in which "one is not too clever", he explained.

"There was so much blood that I didn’t even know if I was going to survive.

"My glasses kept on steaming up and when I put my finger on the page of the telephone directory (to try to find the right number for the police) I just got a big splotch of blood."

Son-in-law Nigel Murray said yesterday that even on the day of the attack, the police were "worse than useless". He and his wife arrived in Ballito at around 6.30 am and went straight to Ballito hospital where they found Norris-Jones in the intensive care unit.

When they went to the Umhlali police station there was no record of the attack.

"We told them more than they knew."

The policeman who had met Norris-Jones at the hospital had promised to return to take a statement. He was nowhere to be found.

Murray said the family, as well as neighbours and friends, are highly incensed by the police’s inefficiency.

Although a dog unit (called in by a neighbour) arrived early on Monday morning, those wanting to mop up the blood and tidy the ransacked house so that Norris-Jones’s wife could return, had to wait until after 4 pm for the police to arrive to take fingerprints and investigate.

Div Norris-Jones had been staying with friends in Durban while she was undergoing chemotherapy when the attack occurred.

Norris-Jones said the scenario was completely different when his wife was attacked eight years ago by eight armed men on their farm in Colenso. He said the police (Pietermaritzburg Murder and Robbery Unit) arrived immediately to take photographs and statements. "You could phone them anytime and the phone only rang once (before they picked it up)."

Norris-Jones said his wife’s attackers were arrested shortly afterwards with the help of the local community, whom Norris-Jones had befriended. Superintendent Musi Mngomezulu confirmed that the investigating officer returned to the scene of the stabbing to take a statement shortly after a call from Weekend Witness.

He said the investigation will be handled by the Umhlali police station. Investigations are ongoing, although there have been no arrests, he added.

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