A Gonubie couple living next door to where a woman was stabbed to death last month were themselves attacked and robbed this week.
The intruder got away with R800 in cash, two laptops valued at R20000, a cellphone, jewellery and cigarettes.
The incident took place in 12th Avenue, adjoining the home of the late Marlene Cairns, who died last month after being stabbed in the neck by two intruders.
The family spoke to the Daily Dispatch yesterday and said they had not yet recovered from the shock of Marlene’s death, only for this to happen.
Homeowner Alan Randall, 62, and his wife Cheryl were having a braai on their patio on Tuesday when Cheryl got up and walked into the house just after 6pm.
“She went into the house to get salads for the braai and noticed that [a beaded curtain] in our bedroom door was moving.
“She went to investigate and found our wardrobe door opened. She then said to me something was up,” said Randall, adding he then got up to investigate.
“I searched the house and as I entered the spare room, I saw a guy hiding behind the door. He moved across the room and I grabbed him.
“The guy screamed ‘I will kill you’ and I responded ‘you are talking sh*t you bastard’ as we continued to wrestle.”
Randall said he exchanged punches with the intruder until the man stabbed him in his right elbow with a white object. “I could not make out what it was.”
Randall’s brother-in-law, who was braaiing outside, came to his rescue. “When the guy saw my brother-in-law he dived to the window. He opened it and made a run for it.
“My brother-in-law managed to grab him by the foot as he was hanging by the window but the intruder managed to escape,” said Randall. Cheryl pressed the panic button connected to a Red Alert alarm system.
Randall then got into his vehicle and started driving around looking for the man. “I could not find him. I then drove to the Gonubie police station and when I got there they told me that Red Alert had already summoned a van to my place,” Randall said.
He suspected there were more than two people involved.
“The guy I wrestled with was empty-handed. He must have passed the items to someone through one of the windows.
“That someone must have fled when they realised we were fighting in the house,” he said.
He suspects the men gained access to their home by jumping over a side wall.
“My wife is scared of sleeping in her bedroom now because she has seen how easy it is for someone to enter into your house and violate you,” said Randall.
The couple have lived in the house for 40 years.
“The evening Marlene was murdered we were also braaiing here on the patio. We woke up to the news of her death. It was shocking,” Randall said.
East London police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala said police were investigating a case of housebreaking and theft. No arrests have been made yet.
The attack comes just a month after residents in the suburb held a community meeting at the Carnegie Hall aimed at addressing rising crime levels.
The meeting was prompted by the attack on Cairns, 75, on January 2. Her 77-year-old husband Neil Cairns was repeatedly stabbed in the upper body when he came to her rescue.
The attackers are still at large despite police saying two weeks ago they expected to make an imminent arrest. — firstname.lastname@example.org