September 15 2006 at 04:54AM
An 80-year-old man had to have stitches on his head after his desperate and brave attempt to protect five fellow pensioners with his walking stick during a mugging in Newlands Forest earlier this week.
The two muggers' planned attack didn't pay off as all they managed to run off with was a bag containing some clothing and a lunch-box.
The man, who asked not to be named, said they were walking in a group of six at about 9.30am on Monday when the attempted mugging took place quite close to the Newlands Forest walk entrance.
"There were six of us. We take little walks every Monday morning. While we were walking we saw two guys: a tall one dressed in white and a shorter more stocky guy wearing dark clothing. We had walked along a road and down the stream and we came down near the helipad and saw the two men. I had an uneasy feeling," said the man.
He said the tall mugger came up to them and told them: "If you shout I'll shoot.
"We've been told not to resist because your life is worth more than your valuables but I was angry and lashed out at him with my walking stick. I was trying to get the tall one and he took my stick and struck me with it. I had to have three stitches on my head. Then the short one flung one of the women to the ground. My wife also tried to hit one of them but he took the stick and hit her so hard he broke the stick on her arm."
By this time, he said, all the three women in the group had started screaming for help and by then other walkers had seen what was happening.
The two assailants then ran off and left in a white BMW that was waiting for them.
"We then gathered ourselves together. We saw a forest ranger and gave him our story. But we lost nothing. I'm not a trained fighter. I was never into heavy sport, so I was taken by surprise.
"Had we done what they wanted we would have lost credit cards, drivers licences and jewellery," he said.
Following the muggings in Newlands Forest and surrounding areas over the past few days, Table Mountain National Park says it has had to redeploy its visitor safety staff to cover those areas.
Police spokesperson Billy Jones said the matter had been reported to the Claremont Police Station, and a 19-year-old man held in connection with the incident had appeared in the Wynberg magistrate's court.
This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on September 15, 2006