Wednesday, 22 November 2006

'I prayed, Lord, help me'

20/11/2006 22:43 - (SA)

Lynn Williams, Die Burger

Kirkwood - "They threatened to kill me. I prayed aloud, 'Lord, help me'," said Joan Schonken, 72, from a bed in the Sunday's River Valley hospital.

Her eyes were swollen, she had a long cut on her forehead and her limbs were black and blue.

She was home alone on her farm when two robbers struck on Sunday night.

The attack on Schonken, whose husband, Danie, died four months ago, has shocked the community.

Schonken said she was watching television when she suddenly heard a noise in the house. Before she could get up to phone anyone, the robbers began beating her.

"They beat me with a sjambok while they demanded weapons and money."

Lost a great deal of blood

When she said she didn't have a firearm, they wanted to know where the safe and the keys to the car were.

When the men threatened to kill her, she told them they were "good people", at which one began kicking her in the face without mercy.

Schonken lost consciousness before the robbers drove off in her Toyota Cressida.

She lost a great deal of blood during the attack.

When she came to, she staggered to the kitchen to call for help, but could not use the phone because her hands were tied behind her back.

Later, her son - also Danie Schonken - sent a security company to her home after she told him what had happened when he called as usual from Gauteng.

A heartbroken Schonken said her plea for them not to take her late husband's wedding ring, fell on deaf ears.

"I don't know why they acted so viciously towards me, because I don't harm anyone."

Schonken's brother, Flip van Greunen, said his feeling after the attack on her was "that we live in a land without laws".

Vehicle found abandoned

"My sister is helpless and has to use a cane. Why did they not just take what they wanted?"

Police spokesperson Marianette Olivier said the men took a TV set and a CD player with them in Schonken's car.

The vehicle was later found abandoned in KwaNobuhle. The robbers are still at large.


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