Man, 83, shot dead, wife tied up for 15 hours in Ballito farm attack

2017-08-02 13:51


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Durban - An elderly resident of Glendale Heights, outside Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal, struggled for almost 15 hours to free herself so that she could help her dying husband after they were attacked in their house on the De Mist sugar farm, Netwerk24 reported.

Bob Gawler, 83, died hours after being shot in the stomach by robbers. It is suspected that he bled to death.

The robbers used cable ties to tie his 74-year-old wife Denise’s hands.

They were attacked in their home at about 18:00 on Friday.

Ricky Pissarra, the couple's son-in-law, said on Tuesday morning that Denise was very traumatised and found it difficult to speak about what had happened on Friday evening.

"It was another farm attack," Pissarra said, adding that he doesn’t think there was a political motive.

The motive was robbery. "Now it has become murder as well."

The robbers burst into the house through a glass sliding door. "Denise was lying on her bed. She’d recently undergone knee replacement surgery and was still recuperating.

"Bob had just finished showering. He was killed in the passage with his own firearm. He didn’t die immediately and obviously had put up a tremendous fight. We could see the bruises on his hands."

Pissarra said Denise had heard the shots and tried to crawl from her bedroom to her husband, who was lying in the passage. She tried to free herself, but wasn't able to, and couldn't get to him.

"My in-laws would have visited us in Ballito the following day. When we didn’t hear anything from them, I phoned the neighbours at about 09:00. A neighbour found Bob’s body and saw a helpless Denise lying on the carpet. It is very traumatic. We are a close-knit family."

A memorial service will be held for Bob in the Anglican Church in Umhlali at 14:30 on Friday. 

He is survived by four daughters as well.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said in a statement that three robbers had overpowered the couple. Denise’s hands were tied with cable ties while the attackers forced her husband to unlock the safe.

The robbers took a shotgun and revolver from the safe and shot Bob. They fled in his Toyota Hilux bakkie, which was later found abandoned in the vicinity of Molweni.

Zwane said no arrests had been made.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime  |  farm attacks

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