‘Big Bad John’ (77) fights off three robbers in CBD

2016-04-20 11:56
77-year-old ‘Big Bad John’ Oxley demonstrates how he fought off three men who tried to stab and rob him in the CBD.

77-year-old ‘Big Bad John’ Oxley demonstrates how he fought off three men who tried to stab and rob him in the CBD. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - With a knife against his neck, ­77-year-old John Oxley knew that he would have to fight to survive.

Oxley, nicknamed “Big Bad John” after a song from the 1960s, was ­attacked by three men on Church Street on Tuesday, one of them ­wielding a knife.

Oxley said he had been at the ­Pietermaritzburg City Hall in the morning, giving quotes for repairs, and had decided to walk to Selgro Centre.

“There was a man I knew at Selgro, so I decided to walk down Church Street to the centre.”

Oxley said he had just passed the Bessie Head Library and was passing the taxi rank when all of a sudden a man grabbed him from behind and placed a knife to his neck, while two other men held down his arms and shouted for him to hand over his phone.

“The one man had a knife, ­although it was more like the head of a spear, and the blade was pressing into my neck.

“The other two men had grabbed my arms and I had to think quickly.”

Oxley said he elbowed the man with the knife in the ribs so hard, he immediately released his grip from around his neck.

“Then I looked up, and one of the other men was in front of me. I punched him in the face.”

Oxley said the men then ran off and, although they escaped with his cellphone, Oxley only had a small cut from the incident.

“If I had not fought back, I would have been severely injured, maybe dead,” he said.

Oxley’s wife, Gloria, said she was “so proud” of her husband and was “extremely grateful” that he had not been hurt.

“His life was in danger and he fought,” she said.

“If he had not fought, I am certain he would be dead.”

Oxley said it had been a busy morning on Church Street and everyone “froze” when the attack happened.

“Everyone just stood around and watched while the attack happened. I think they were all scared of what would happen to them if they got ­involved.”

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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