August 14 2007 at 05:06AM
By Jeff Wicks
A gang of hijackers trying to steal a 4x4 on Monday were foiled by the efforts of a 13-year-old girl, who used her hockey stick to strike one of the men, and a witness to the drama, who drove his car at them.
Debra Freimond, 47, had been waiting for her daughter, Hayley, outside Chelsea Preparatory School in Durban North where three men tried to hijack her.
Freimond, of Umhlanga Rocks, was held up when she got out of the 4x4 to let the children in.
"As I opened the canopy, someone asked for my keys. At that stage, I thought it was one of the kids," she said.
She found herself confronted by three armed men. "One of them held a gun to my head while another pushed me to the ground. I didn't know what to do, so I just threw my keys to them," she said.
Hayley, a grade seven pupil, saw the attempted hijacking unfold as she approached. "I saw them put the gun to my mother's head," she said.
Hayley struck one of the hijackers on the neck with her hockey stick. Seeing the commotion, a man who had been parked nearby tried to run down the men in his car.
Hayley said that after she hit the hijacker, he pointed the gun at her. "If it wasn't for the man in the car, he would've shot one of us."
As the man, who had just fetched his granddaughter from the school, sped towards the gunmen, one of them fired a shot at the car. The bullet broke through the windscreen and lodged in the dashboard. The hijackers fled.
Chelsea Principal Clive Nel said: "It's horrifying how brazen they were, but it's a reality of the country we live in."
Nel said Hayley was a heroine.
"We are very proud of her, but I don't think she realised how much danger she put herself in."
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on August 14, 2007