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Woman fights off farm attackers

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"We work hard to earn a living and to support our children. Why can’t these suspects do the same?”

LEFT: Several of Colleen Harveys fingers were injured after attackers ripped six of her rings off her fingers. Picture: Soraya Crowie

A FEISTY 79-year-old woman fought off three men who forcefully entered her home on a farm situated between Barkly West and Windsorton during the early hours of yesterday morning.

During the incident, Colleen Harvey was assaulted while her husband, Athol, also 79, incurred head injuries after being hit with a crowbar.

Speaking from her hospital bed yesterday, Harvey said that the couple were awoken by the sounds of intruders dismantling the burglar bars with bolt cutters.

“I struggled to wake up my husband when I first heard the noises. By 2am the lights in the house were on and three men were inside the bedroom and they rummaged through the cupboards and draws.”

Harvey stated that the intruders were very specific in their demand for expensive jewellery, money and guns.

“They were not interested in any junk jewellery. I told them that we did not have any firearms.

“My fingers were bleeding while I fought the men in an attempt to prevent them from ripping the rings off my fingers, including my diamond ring and wedding band. I screamed at the men, who covered their faces with balaclavas and were wearing gloves.

“They rendered my husband unconscious when they hit him with a crowbar and he was bleeding profusely.”

Harvey said that the intruders used her husband’s shoelaces to tie up both her and her husband’s hands and feet.

“While my hands were tightly bound I pressed my feet onto the pillow, where a 9mm pistol was hidden, but they flipped me over and managed to take it. I tried to grab it back and told them that it was mine and they could not take it. I do not know where I gathered the strength from – I just wanted to prove to them that they were not the boss.”

Harvey added that the intruders threatened her with a knife that was kept on the bedroom drawer.

“It was a butcher’s knife that I used to use when we still had the butchery. They kept telling me that they would kill me.”

She also sustained superficial stab wounds when the suspects grazed her leg with the knife.

Harvey said that the suspects were “kind enough” to leave her husband’s credit card, identity document and medical aid card.

“They searched his jacket and emptied it of all valuables. They damaged the kist when they disconnected the television.

“After a while the whole house was quiet and I wondered where the suspects were hiding in the house. I managed to untie my feet and call for help. The cellphone reception is bad and my nearest neighbour is about 30 minutes away.”

Harvey said that, other than stock theft, the couple had not experienced any serious violent crimes in all their years living in the area, which is about 80 kilometres from Kimberley.

“The farm is our home, my father inherited it from my grandmother and now we are here. We work hard to earn a living and to support our children. Why can’t these suspects do the same?”

Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, said that the Northern Cape Trio Crime Unit was investigating a farm attack.

“The farmer and his wife were sleeping when the suspects entered the house, assaulted them and tied them up. Although information is still sketchy, it is further alleged that the suspects fled with the farmer’s white Mahindra bakkie, a firearm and a television.”

Kock indicated that the stolen vehicle was found abandoned near the farm on the Barkly West road.

“The farmer and his wife have both been admitted to hospital for medical treatment.

“Anyone with information regarding the incident is requested to call Detective Constable Seome Mokwena on 081 530 5333. The investigation continues.”

Spokesperson for Mediclinic Gariep, Denise Coetzee, said that both patients were recovering in the high care unit.