Man shot dead protecting family

2012-04-25 13:48

Pretoria - Emotional friends and family have come out in support of a pregnant woman who lost her life partner after robbers broke into the man’s home and shot him several times.

Jo Starr, 40, was asleep next to Aneke Gardiner at their Reitvlei, Pretoria, home when Gardiner began hearing noises in the house. Her two children, Aidan, 6, and 8-year-old Nika, were asleep in the downstairs bedroom.

Starr went downstairs to investigate and found a man in the house. “Jo started throwing his large crystals at the robber and shouted for him to get out of our house,” said Gardiner.

The man fled through a window and Starr investigated the property for more suspects. Then someone shouted: “We’re going to shoot you.”

“I was standing at the top of the stairs when Jo told me to come and fetch the children immediately.”

“I ran downstairs to get Aiden and Nika.  They were awake and hysterical.  I took them to the upstairs bedroom and wrapped them in blankets - Jo was still downstairs.”

‘Then I heard a shot’

Meanwhile, the five robbers broke down the kitchen door, entered the house and started shouting again “we’re going to shoot you”.

Starr pleaded with the robbers to not harm his family, saying that they were prepared to co-operate by handing over all valuables. He was determined not to let the robbers go upstairs to where the children were.

But as he was calling her to get the valuables, Gardiner heard gunshots.

The robbers shot at him several times and missed but one shot to the head would be the fatal blow.

 “I ran downstairs when I heard another shot and saw Jo fall to the ground."

“The men instructed me to bring them the laptop and I did as they asked.  I turned around and ran back to my children but they [the robbers] ran after me.  

After asking Gardiner for money and jewellery and hitting her on the head with the gun, the gang fled with a laptop, two cellphones and a plasma TV.

‘There was so much blood’

After the robbers left, Gardiner ran downstairs where she found her partner lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. Nika and Aidan tried to help get Starr into their vehicle but after several attempts she realised that she would have to find another way.

 “I told Aidan to get as many towels and blankets as he could find, I wanted to try and stop the bleeding,” Gardiner said.  

“Jo was still conscious and I kept telling him that help is on the way and that he needs to think about our unborn baby.  There was so much blood.”

The neighbours appeared on the scene and the police and an emergency vehicle were dispatched.  

‘Space Dad’

Starr was turned away by the hospital that was closest to them, with the hospital saying that they “have no space”.  Jo was taken to the Kalafong Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries at 08:00.

Gardiner said that her children called Starr their “Space Dad” because he was always teaching them about the planets and astrology.

Gardiner, who is expecting her and Starr’s first child together, said: “If it is a boy, I will name him Jo Starr.  In fact, I will do so even if it is a little girl!  If it wasn’t for Jo we might not have been here either.  He fought with his life to protect his family.”

Messages of support have been pouring in for the two on their Facebook pages.

A memorial will be held for Starr on Thursday at the Stone Cradle Restaurant.

Police have not yet made any arrests. Anyone with information can contact the Littleton police station on 012 644 8600 or Detective Warrant Officer Thinus van Wyk 012 644 8602.

  • Gareth - 2012-04-25 13:54

    This is so sad.. RIP Man, Hope they catch the Fu*(&%$*&

      Gestoffle - 2012-04-25 14:17

      RIP - is the acronym we are using far too often. If we get rid of the acronym ANC, maybe we wont be writing RIP four times a day. Anyway, RIP JO and my sincere condolences to the family and friends.

      Winnie - 2012-04-25 14:57

      Why why why, why did he have to die like that!!!!!! Mr President is this what you call safer SA? "tears rolling down my cheek"

      Felix - 2012-04-25 15:03

      Hopefully they catch them floating face down in a dam.

      Mathilda - 2012-04-25 19:07

      Like you, Gareth, I hope the murderers are caught. I don't have a lot of hope for that though, my brother in law was hijacked and shot for his car 12 years ago, and no one has yet been questioned in that case. Aneke Gardiner is my niece, and we are extremely saddened by what happened to her and Jo, and the children. This is just another senseless murder, another family torn apart, another baby who will be born without a father, because of the crime. We wish (and will make every effort) that they could leave the country and come live with us or close to us in the USA.

  • i2meleng - 2012-04-25 14:11

    Sies, disgusting filthy creatures, I hope they burn in hell. RIP Jo.

  • sibusiso.mkoko - 2012-04-25 14:12

    Y was he turned away by the 1st hospital? What space? Space to put up and IV line and Oxygen? They cud do that in the freakin corridor of the wards. Surely it was a private hospital. That's y I want them shut down. NHI will sort them out. RIP Space dad.

      janti.cloete - 2012-04-25 14:29

      So true. It's all bout the money for them. That doctor wants his next bmw...

      Jackie - 2012-04-25 14:39

      Sibusiso you are 100% correct! No trauma cases should EVER be turned away!! Not ever! They should have stabilised him at least. To just tell them to go is heart breaking. I cant imagine the stress and fear that they went through - its a total nightmare. We need decent government hospitals staffed by people who want to work and managed like a business. So sorry for the family & RIP Jo.

      Susan - 2012-04-25 14:43

      Exactly Sibusiso, surely they could have stabilised him before sending him on to the next hospital! RIP Jo!

      Marion - 2012-04-25 14:54

      No one may be refused emergency medical treatment. That doesn't only apply to government hospitals. Whoever turned this man away deserves to be charged with whatever they can charge him/her with. Sue the hospital.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-25 15:15

      He probably did'nt have a medical aid...that's how it works in South Africa. If you cannot pay, you die, or end up at Kalafong and die anyway. My condolences.

      Bob - 2012-04-25 16:52

      Private hospitals will not take you in, or treat you, no matter what the seriousness is, unless you have medical aid or at least R20,000.00 - R50,000-00 (depending on the seriousness) in cash if no medial aid.. Someone I know was turned away at a Private hospital in Pinetown when he suffered a heart attack. He died later on the way to a provincial hospital after the private hospital refused to treat him.

  • Pamela - 2012-04-25 14:12

    it's quite sad... Yet another soul killed for things he worked hard for which are replaceable but his life will never be. Only a memory of him. RIP Jo! As much as I', a proudly south african, i"m starting to hate most people in it.

      dumisiledee - 2012-04-25 14:15

      Its really unfair Pamela that you'd go and work your butt of to have a laptop and a plasma tv to have someone break in your house, shoot you then steal your stuff. Why shoot him? Heck why even want something that you didn't work for?

      Schalk - 2012-04-25 14:45

      who the hell is giving thumbs down, i would like to come visit you!!!! you'll wish the 1970's back......!!

  • dumisiledee - 2012-04-25 14:13

    This is one horrendous story just because of some filthy useless scums that deserve to die a slow painful death. Eff this man, our government is sitting comfortably while these filthy thugs roam our streets and kill us, why dont they bring back the death penalty? I hate this effin country. RIP man, your kid will be born without a dad because of some greedy, lazy filth. Aargh I'm sooo pissed

      Pamela - 2012-04-25 14:35

      don't get me wrong Dumi, SA is a beautiful country the ONLY problem is the people handling this country. So don't hate the country, just the idiots in gvt who are flippen illiterate

      Andrew - 2012-04-25 14:39

      No problem with the country only the masses who live here and those who run it into the ground!!!

  • Arthur - 2012-04-25 14:22

    How can the hospital turn them away?! Isn't that illegal? In emergency situations Doctors are OBLIGED to tend to people if their lives are at stake. Happy mom and kids are safe and unharmed, truly sorry for their loss though.

      Marion - 2012-04-25 15:06

      @Hugh - My grandson is doing first aid. As far as I can understand once he has his certificate he may not refuse/avoid giving anyone medical treatment. If that applies to a kid with a first aid certificate why doesn't it apply to a hospital?

      Sharon - 2012-04-25 16:16

      Is it possible in any way that there was nobody in the hospital at the time who could treat a gunshot wound? Someone I know was shot, and his dad said that was the case when he was taken to hospital. Luckily for them a surgeon showed up and took charge of the situation (and saved his life).

      Marion - 2012-04-25 16:22

      @Sharon - doctors in casualty departments should be equipped to deal with that sort of thing. Glad your friends life was saved.

      Sharon - 2012-04-25 16:43

      @ Marion - Should be is a supposition. This is not Utopia by any stretch of the imagination!

  • Danny - 2012-04-25 14:22

    At least they could have taken all what they needed and spared the innocent life.Hope that the barbarians are caught and they must rot in jail.

      Pamela - 2012-04-25 14:38

      Trust me, they won't be anytime soon, coz those cops probarbly spelt the statement wront, coz they can't and they just laying in the police station having pap n wors, filling up their bellies. Once full, they'll just go and bully the non dangerous citizens for bribes or beat them up for nothing. T.I.A, it's just how it is....

  • Arthur - 2012-04-25 14:26

    Whoever is thumbing down, may you be infested with a million fleas.

  • Frederick - 2012-04-25 14:33

    Hospital turned them away!!!! he could have been alive...RIP Joe, my thoughts are with your loved ones left behind.

      Pamela - 2012-04-25 14:54

      The "partner needs to sue that hospital".

  • Marion - 2012-04-25 14:39

    Incredibly sad. RIP. Sincere condolences to family and friends.

  • Shellerjc - 2012-04-25 14:41

    WTF!! No Space - You cant do that if its an emgergency DAMN - this country has gone for a ball of crap

  • Zenzele - 2012-04-25 14:43

    Animals,ANC must do something about this.I can not believe that hospital who turned a dying man away because of lack of space. Where is "ubuntu" . That hospital have a caseto answer, they contributed into the death of this man by refusing him emergency treatment. This is a disgrace !!! My heart goes to the family.

      Bianca - 2012-04-25 16:00

      Zmazibuko...the ANC will do nothing about this just like they do nothing about anything that concerns the well being of its tax paying citizens. But ask them to be corrupt and line their pockets with our tax money (steal what we work for) that they can do all too well. RIP Jo may God be with your family and give them strength and comfort.

  • leigh.windvogel - 2012-04-25 14:53

    I say name and shame the 1st hospital. those minutes in between chasing to the next next hospital clould have been life saving. Sad story, RIP Space Dad

      Anneri - 2012-04-25 15:06

      Totally agree Leigh. Name and shame the 1st Hospital. It's a total disgrace that they were turned away.

      George - 2012-04-25 16:52

      No the hospital..the doctor and sister on duty. Their names and the tokolosh can come to visit.

  • Martin - 2012-04-25 14:54

    may the community get them before the police pamper them

  • Marion - 2012-04-25 14:57

    Something that really bothers me in this report is that little children were sleeping in the downstairs section of the house.

      Elize - 2012-04-25 17:33

      @Marion no offense to anybody but I also worry about that, your children should be close to you at all times!!

  • Cate - 2012-04-25 15:03

    I would want a full investigation as to why this man was refused admission at the first hospital. It is a disgrace.

      Marion - 2012-04-25 15:11

      I'd like to know the name of the hospital.

      ani.honey.bee - 2012-05-14 15:48

      It was Steve Biko, they were full, Kalafong was full too, but they took him there anyway, there the emergency staff was bitching about not having space for him there but the guy that came in tripping his tits off got more attention than Jo, Jo was losing an incredible amount of blood, and they were fighting over paper work... I stood there with blood dripping down the side of my head where they hit me with the gun, pregnant or not, they did not even look at me. I will be out of this hell hole of a country as soon as this case is solved.

  • Lumko Ntshinka - 2012-04-25 15:05

    May God be with his family, can only imagine what they are going thru, horror days we live in

  • Michael - 2012-04-25 15:05

    My sincere condolonces to the immediate and extended family. You are in my prayers during this time of bereavement. God watches over you and will care for you as he always have. Be strong and love like there is no tomorrow.

  • Alex - 2012-04-25 15:05

    What a horrific story...Rest In Peace.

  • Khanyi - 2012-04-25 15:11

    May he rest in peace, this is a hero. And to the family be strong

  • Christine - 2012-04-25 15:17

    This is shocking! You died a hero Joe! Rest in peace

  • merushan - 2012-04-25 15:22

    Hang th bastards

  • Sid - 2012-04-25 15:22

    Sorry to hear. Jo was quite a character. Condolences to Aneke and his family from all at Sacred Ink.

      ani.honey.bee - 2012-05-14 15:33

      This is Aneke, thanks hey, Jo is incredibly missed, nothing is the same after this. Thanks, Aneke

  • Joseph - 2012-04-25 15:23

    This is again to show how barbarick they are it is time people shoot them dead, for dead idiots don't talk. The saps and this goverment can do nothing to stop crime. All the criminals are police and in the goverment

  • Merror - 2012-04-25 15:23

    But people this is just too much. How many people must be murdered for the government to do something. We are just left to these heartless criminals to finish us. May God be with the family during these difficult time.

      manie.malan - 2012-04-25 16:00

      Too many have already died. This government will never do something, they are too busy filling their own pockets and do not have time to run a country. Maybe we need a change of government ...

  • zuko.skitasi - 2012-04-25 15:27

    This has just messed up my payday,such cruelty,the man offered them his valuables and they still shot him ....unarmed.What's next?,what's this world coming to?,sad really.May your unborn be blessed with that man's courage lady,I wish your family all the best in this time of grieving.R.I.P JO,I would honoured if I had to die protecting my family,please fellow citizens lets toast one for Jo tonight,unsung hero.RIP.

  • David - 2012-04-25 15:28

    and the effing hospital who turned them away...i thought life threatening emergencies had to be treated and a person stabilised first before being sent elswhere....??? this hospital should be splashed all over the news.sue the minister of health!!!

  • NicoleRealTalk - 2012-04-25 15:30

    This makes me sick!!!!!!how can they take a father away from his unborn child????? they are not people they are animals sick disgusting animals who do not deserve a place on this earth!!!!!!!!

  • Matthew - 2012-04-25 15:32

    My condolences to the the widow and children. As for the police...get off your lazy bums and do something this has happened before and continues whilst good men are told and restricted by law to do nothing and instead place trust and faith into a police that has long since been anything other than a bunch of lazy and corrupt people either too selfish,too greedy or underpaid to do their jobs properly.not saying they could've stopped this,but i am saying,that if they were on the ball,these guys would be caught by now!!! And if only there was the death penality brought just for criminals like this. Not only did they steal material items of value,but they took the life of a husband,a father and a decent human being that only tried to protect his family. I hope they catch these buggers and that they burn in hell.

  • psenye1 - 2012-04-25 15:33

    A very painful and heartbreaking story...we need not to live like is noble and precious...lazy bastards have turned this country into a spaza shop. we are leaving in fear and in danger...the reversal of apartheid in the form of black versus white...the hatred and angry comments wont mend any wrongdoing...we hated whites during apartheid...and now whites hate black in th presence of freedom...can somebody please verify my confusion...what is freedom??? and what is the meaning of freedom???RIP fought fiercely before your departure on died a soldier...

  • Maria - 2012-04-25 15:44

    Just another murder...... And they (Zuma) say crime in S.A is not that bad. H e l l o .....

  • Samantha - 2012-04-25 15:50

    How does one have hope and promise of a safe future for our children after reading this :(- very, very sad

      George - 2012-04-25 16:48

      Don't worry, according to our dear leader we are quite safe....Maybe its a culture thing. Nature has equipped all of us with healthy instincts which we must use. Kill the killers..if you don't know where they are hunt them down. Deconstruct them.

  • manie.malan - 2012-04-25 15:54

    Why do the press always report on these crimes as mere robberies? Every murder is reported as a "robbery gone wrong". If they were just robbers, why did they have to kill him? They are MURDERERS, NOT ROBBERS!!! The government and police do little to stop these crimes and let criminals go free. We as law-abiding citizens should have the right to shoot and kill anyone that break into our homes, as it is in self-defense. Why do we have to wait until we are being shot at or attacked in the safety of our own homes? These "robberies" will stop if we have that right to arm ourselves and defend ourselves, our loved ones and our property.

      Koos - 2012-04-25 16:07

      As if the ANC will allow you to actually protect you, your family and your property. Chances are you will find another "find another way to protect yourself" love letter in response to this.v The law literally comes down to "the victim's life is expendable" but the criminals life "must be protected".

  • George - 2012-04-25 16:23

    Nothing but the death penalty will deter these animals. Increasingly the only option people see is to be more vigilant as in vigilantism. When the government does not listen to those it governs the people must follow their natural instinct for self-preservation.

      jscholtz - 2012-04-25 16:54

      Do you trust our government to implement the death penalty? I for one do not. I am no bleeding hart for criminals, but unfortunately it has never been proved that the death penalty has ever served as a deterrent. I would rather we protect ourselves with the best tools available.

  • Quinnieboy - 2012-04-25 16:30

    All be sure, the robbers also need to die, then the big payback will be..

  • William - 2012-04-25 16:31


      Pixie86 - 2012-04-26 12:39

      speEchless perhaps?

  • jscholtz - 2012-04-25 16:41

    Well, so much for all that crap we get told - Don't put up a fight and you will be okay - says Gun FREE SA and other idiots. Criminals break the law - by definition - and don't give a damn about your life or your loved ones. Take care of yourself and prepare for such an event. This whole story is sad and it makes me SICK that people insist that we disarm all the honest people in this country and be willing victims. We have created a fantastic environment for these scum bags to do whatever they want!

      peterjohnjnb - 2012-04-26 06:08

      You are SO right. I'd like to see what gun free SA says now!

  • Rob - 2012-04-25 17:00

    These 'scum bags' are not even worthy of being called 'animals'. They have destroyed an enitre family for a lap-top, cell phone and a TV. - go and break into a shop where you do not have to murder. Can you imagine the trauma the family will suffer for the rest of their lives. As for the Hospital that turned the mortally injured person away, they should be charged with 'culpable homicide'... No doubt the Police are 'monitoring the situation'. BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE...

  • petrus.vantonder1 - 2012-04-25 17:02

    hope they catch them and fu

  • rayno.grever - 2012-04-25 17:11

    There's nothing more dangerous than a dumb guy with a gun.\r\n My condolences to the family, Aneke and the kids. \r\nJo you are a hero, rest in peace.

  • will.dundas - 2012-04-25 17:43

    This is when you realise how important it is for this "Govment" to bring back the death penalty. If these scum knew that they had no protection from the law they would have made very different decissions. when the hanging begins the hate crimes, which this clearly is, will stop.

  • Keith - 2012-04-25 17:43

    My heartfelt condolences to the Starr family, my beloved south Africa has got a very bad government in charge(ANC) that's why even dangerous criminals from other African and eastern European countries have built their crime nest in south Africa because the leadership of our country is corrupt to the core, I thank God 13 years ago I successfully applied for my UK working holiday visa that was the only way to leave south Africa because my academic qualifications on that time was just a MATRIC and a meaningless COLLEGE certificate, Britain gave me a very good university degree and a very good and safe life, I met my DANISH wife at the university of EDINBURGH in SCOTLAND and I now live with my wife and kids in a beautiful coastal town here in DENMARK surrounded by zero crime rate sceneries and loving and thoughtful people, those who can manage to leave south Africa leave now while you and your family members are still alive, when I was in south Africa I couldn't see a black-man like me owning a multi-million rand hospitality

  • will.dundas - 2012-04-25 17:46

    God bless you Aneke and your little ones, I'm very sorry for your loss.

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-04-25 18:56

    Every day we read of tragic incidents that would either cease or be reduced if the president would stop acting like an ostrich. South Africa is not safe - he lied. It's high time he is made to answer for the attacks, murders, thefts, burglaries and rapes that innocent people have to deal with. My heartfelt condolences to his family. I wish you strength in the coming months.

  • Morgause - 2012-04-25 19:07

    You will be missed, Jo!

      Billy - 2012-04-27 04:55

      Who the hell gives this thumbs down????????????

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-04-25 19:54

    i don't understand how this happens- our Prez said we are safe?

  • Ayanda Excellent Mpisane - 2012-04-25 20:11

    Bad bad bad

  • Danny - 2012-04-25 20:31

    RIP JO,The recent article about a hospital being sued for 11million rands should set a precedent to all other hospitals.I say Aneke should do same to the heartless hospital staff who refused to care for JO.GO ON & SUE THE HOSPITAL.

  • Mfanimpela - 2012-04-25 20:38


  • Mfanimpela - 2012-04-25 20:39