Daughter of man killed in Broederstroom armed robbery: ‘We should fight back’

2018-07-02 14:55
Chanti Dawson  and father Peter Dawson. PHOTO: Supplied

Chanti Dawson and father Peter Dawson. PHOTO: Supplied

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Shock is making everything seem surreal.

Their loss is great and there are many unanswered questions, Chanti Dawson (30) told YOU on Monday shortly before the memorial service of her father in Broederstroom, North West.

“We’re sad and angry. We’ve lost our hero, our biggest fan, our life mentor, the glue that held our very close family together. He was a loyal, respected and much loved man who’s always helped anyone and everyone he could . . .”

The rural community was rocked again on Sunday 24 June by news of an armed robbery at a local smallholding. This time, Peter Dawson (64) was shot dead.

Peter’s daughter Crystal (28) was home with him at the time but managed to escape and run for help.

She ran through the bush in the dark to the road. After some time trying to flag down motorists, a couple eventually stopped and helped Crystal, who was confused and traumatised. They helped her get hold of the police, and her sisters Chanti and Sarah (24).

“Crystal is doing as well as can be at this time, but the whole family feels very lost and we have a lot of mixed emotions,” Chanti said.

“Why him, why us? Why did the robbers want to wait for myself and my other sister to come back?”

The three women had spent their usual “father-daughter” weekend with their dad. They had dinner with him on Sunday evening and played board games, after which Chanti and Sarah went to visit friends in the area.

Crystal had felt tired and decided to stay home with Peter and watch a movie. He later dozed off on the couch.

The robbers, who’d apparently been watching the Dawsons for a while and cut the electric fence, struck when Crystal went out to smoke before bedtime. They forced her inside at gunpoint, where Peter tried to reason with them. But one of the robbers shot him in the chest because “he was tired of listening to him”, Chanti said.

Peter fell to the ground. “We now know he’d also been struck on the head with a fire iron but it was the gunshot that killed him,” Chanti said.

When she arrived home with the police, she collapsed next to her father’s body and later had to be carried away.

“We protected Sarah from seeing the scene as she’s the baby.”

The robbers forced Crystal to sit next to her dad’s lifeless body, take off his wedding ring and hand it to them. One of the men tried to drag her into a bedroom, but she fought back. He let go and turned back to complain to his accomplices.

Crystal then fled through a door.

Chanti said she and Crystal had been held hostage too years before in an armed robbery at their mother’s house in Kyalami, Gauteng.

That situation had been very similar “and we strongly believe that’s where she found the strength, quick thinking and fighting ability to run for her life”.

She said Peter, a British citizen who came to South Africa in his 20s, “was a proud South African and had huge hope and aspirations for South Africa”.

He was a businessman with a huge heart, people loved him and he was a father figure to many, and always tried to help make the country a better place.

His memorial service, at the Glen Afric Country Lodge in Broederstroom, was a celebration of his life, Chanti said.

She said she didn’t want the incident to be associated in any way with a farm attack or land grabs. “But we strongly believe that victims’ families, all of us, should stand up and fight back. We need to tell our stories . . . We shouldn’t be intimidated and we shouldn’t stay quiet.

“There are only a few bad apples committing these horrendous crimes. There are way more people affected by them. We should fight back and rid society of them.”

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime
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