12/11/2007 08:43 - (SA)
Daleen van Manen, Die Burger
Pretoria - A young woman who returned to South Africa after two years overseas, was tied to her dying father, who was shot by robbers during a robbery on the day of her return.
"I begged them to take everything and go so that I could take my father to hospital, but they shook him, laughed and said he was okay."
A dazed Helene Kerkhof, 21, told on Sunday how four robbers had stormed into 53-year-old Rian Kerkhof's cottage in Moreleta Park, Pretoria, on Thursday and shot him. They then terrorised her for more than an hour.
Kerkhof died on Friday morning.
Helene, who returned from Taiwan on Thursday, was already asleep when the robbers overpowered Kerkhof inside his home in De Ville Bois Mareuil Street.
"I woke up hearing voices and a shot. I knew we were being robbed and called my father. Four men stormed into my room, picked me up, hit me and threw me down next to my father. He was seriously wounded.
"They tied us to each other and kicked me several times. One of them tried to pull up my shirt, but I laid curled up and asked him not to," she said.
"I told them to take everything and go. My father was shot through the right side and was bleeding to death. He was in a lot of pain, but kept asking if I was okay."
Helene and her father had to watch for more than an hour how the robbers searched the house and ate from the fridge before they eventually left with two laptop computers, a digital camera, DVD-player, iPod and two cellphones at about 00:30.
"They tried to lock us into the house, but had trouble with the key. We waited a while and I untied my feet. My father untied my hands."
Helene went outside to find help, but heard the robbers talking in the garden.
"I hid under a bush until I was sure they had left before going to the nearest house for help."
Kerkhof was taken to Pretoria East Hospital by ambulance, where he underwent emergency surgery.
He died on Friday morning shortly before his wife, Marilette, 47, and his three other children, Marain, 19, Adrian, 17 and Katrien, 13, arrived at the hospital from Stellenbosch.
"I looked forward to returning to South Africa, but I cannot live in a place where such pigs are terrorising the community. Nobody is safe. It's not enough to rob. They want to kill," said Helene.
"I am angry. Is nobody going to do something about the senseless gruesome acts?" she wanted to know.
Police spokesperson inspector Paul Ramaloko said nobody has been arrested in connection with the incident.