Woman kills robber in shootout

2010-11-01 10:12

Pretoria - It was like a scene from the "Wild West" when a woman and a robber opened fire on one another during an attack on a smallholding in Boschkop, in the east of Pretoria over the weekend.

Madi Ditmars, 50, was hit once in the shoulder during the attack on Friday night. The body of an attacker was found about 300 metres from her house.

"This was no racially-motivated incident. It was robbery," her husband, Jan Ditmars, 59, said on Sunday.

He had been part of the pre-1994 struggle against apartheid, and emigrated from the Netherlands to South Africa because he felt he could make a positive contribution to the country.

Both he and Madi also helped with the 1994 election.

Reasons behind crime

"In one way, the robbery was justified because of the poverty and the many inequalities in the country. These are just some of the reasons behind crime in South Africa, I think.

"But simply walking into someone's house and opening fire is not completely justified," he said.

The couple were in their living room - which also serves as an office - at about 19:15 on Friday.

Madi went outside to the courtyard. She set the alarm so it would activate the outside doors, but not inside the house.

According to her husband, the robbers must have been watching them.

The four men attacked Madi as she was setting the alarm.

Ditmars was working on his computer when he suddenly heard voices. He was moving towards the courtyard when the robbers walked in with his wife.

"I started wrestling with one of the robbers to draw their attention so my wife could fetch her firearm.

"She said to the one with the firearm that she wonders whether his weapon is loaded. Then he fired a shot into the ceiling.

'It was like the Wild West'

"And that's when my wife shot him. Many times. He shot back and tried to take her firearm. It was like the Wild West," he said.

"I don't know when, but my wife was shot in the process."

The attackers fled empty-handed.

Ditmars called the local community policing forum, who, in turn, called the emergency services and the police.

Madi was admitted to a local hospital in a stable condition.

The police found the body of an attacker about 300 metres from the house.

"We're not proud of the fact that someone has died. Many will say it's good that the man was shot dead, but that's not how we feel and that wasn't our intention. We regret the fact that someone had to die," Ditmars said.