'They jumped on her'

2008-07-16 23:00

Pretoria - An 82-year-old grandfather of Lombard Street, Wonderboom South, in Pretoria, fought with an axe until his death to protect his wife from five armed attackers.

Andries Visser was shot six times - in the stomach, chest and under his chin - during the attack.

This was after the attackers jumped on his wife Deborah, 70, and hit and kicked her.

Andries heard his wife's calls for help and set upon the attackers with an axe.

After he was shot, he hobbled down the passage and collapsed in front of the bathroom door where he "died in a pool of blood".

Deborah is being treated in the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Pretoria.

The couple, who are the organisers of the annual national jukskei competition for senior citizens in Kroonstad, were attacked in their kitchen at about 21:00 on Tuesday.

Police spokesperson Mirna von Benecke said Deborah had wanted to lock a door outside when she was attacked at her kitchen door.

Father ran from the bedroom

The couple's son Dries, 40, of Centurion, and his children Juan, 9, and Henning, 5, had visited them between 18:00 and 19:00.

"At 22:00 I received a call from my mother who said that my father had been shot," Dries said sadly.

"The robbers attacked my mother first, jumped on her and kicked her.

"They jumped on her," he repeated in disbelief.

He said his mother screamed and his father ran from the bedroom to the kitchen to help her.

"I don't know where my father found the axe, but he tried to fight back and managed to hack one of the robbers.

The robbers shot him six times during the attack."

Dries said that the numerous bullet holes in the walls of the passage testified to the fact that his father had been shot at more than six times.

He said the neighbours heard his mother's cries for help.

"When they went to investigate, they saw the robbers jump over my parents' gate and flee through a hole in the fence across the road, onto the hill.

"The police fine-combed the hill at the reservoir with the help of helicopters but the robbers got away.

"My father is dead and they stole a cellphone and my mother's handbag containing less than R200.

"It's ridiculous," he said.

Dog poisoned a month ago

Dries said he and his sister Zeldi van Straten, 43, were deeply concerned about their mother because she has heart problems and high blood pressure.

Andries and Deborah's godchild Elna Lubbe, 39, visited Deborah in the hospital on Wednesday morning and said she was very muddled because of the shock.

"Ouma repeatedly told the story how Oupa lay in the passage in his own blood."

Lubbe said that Andries and Deborah's dog had been poisoned a month ago and that Deborah apparently saw a green car hovering in front of the house three days before the attack.

"It's as if they've been planning it for months," she said.

Von Benecke said the police were investigating a charge of murder and house robbery.

Andries leaves behind two other grandchildren, Zeldine, 9, and Zandré 14.