Wet matches save couple from being burned alive

2017-02-06 13:02
Lourie and Celia van der Merwe (Facebook)

Lourie and Celia van der Merwe (Facebook)

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Bloemfontein - Wet matches probably saved a Marquard man's life after an attacker poured fuel over him, planning to set him alight, but found that his matches were soggy after rain and wouldn't light. 

Lourie, 60, and Celia van der Merwe, 60, were accosted by a man in their home about 23:00 on Saturday, Netwerk24 reported.

The Van der Merwes were already asleep when they were overpowered by a man in their room. The man had gained entry by breaking down their back door. 

They are both in a serious condition in the Life Rosepark Hospital in Bloemfontein. Despite several stab wounds and blows to the head, they were expected to recover, their daughter Ilse Botha said. 

"My dad was stabbed four times as he tried to ward off the attacker. 

"My mom is much worse off. She sustained a brain haemorrhage when she was hit over the head, but it is not life threatening. She's got a concussion and is a bit confused. She was stabbed in the face, her top jaw was broken and some of her teeth were knocked out. She also has a fracture on the side of her face."

Cellphone, R200 stolen

Botha said her parents were severely traumatised. 

If it hadn't been for the wet matches, she said, one or both of her parents could have died.

"The man poured fuel and other chemicals over my dad and at first wanted my mom to set him alight. She refused. He then threw chemicals in my dad's eyes. An eye specialist will have to determine how bad the damage is.

"My mom had to help the attacker tie up my dad. She saw a gap at the garage door and fled to the neighbours to ask for help. The attacker gave chase," Botha said.

"My dad managed to get to the kitchen, from where he phoned his sister. When the attacker came back, my dad kicked him down the stairs. He got up and stormed my dad again, but another kick saw him hot-foot it out of there." 

Botha said the man had stolen her mother's cellphone and R200. 

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  crime
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