18/01/2008 09:20 - (SA)
Annelene Moses, Beeld
Bapsfontein - A father from Bapsfontein on the East Rand could hardly believe his eyes when he found one of a gang of robbers, who had shot at him a little while earlier, dead at the bottom of his swimming pool.
The four armed robbers had tied up his 21-year-old daughter and shot at him.
Tony Coutinho said the robber might have fired two shots by accident while struggling to get out of the pool.
Two bullet shells were later found inside the pool.
'Act of God'
"I suspect he lost his balance and fell into the pool in his hurry to get away. I don't feel sorry for him, I believe it was an act of God."
The family's nightmare started shortly after midnight when their daughter Linda had arrived home after a dinner date.
She drove through the gate in her mother Irene's Mercedes Benz and had to remove another car from the garage before she could park it.
"I left the Corsa's engine running while parking the Mercedes Benz. I had just switched off the car when the men started hammering on the window," Linda said.
"I got such a fright that I started screaming."
The robbers opened the door and forced Linda on her knees.
"The two younger men's anxiousness made me absolutely calm. I stopped panicking and co-operated with them."
One of the robbers removed her jewellery and a ripped a loose string from her top with which he tied her hands behind her back.
Two of his accomplices got into the Corsa and drove to the gate while the other one tried to start the Mercedes Benz.
The noise woke up Coutinho. "I looked through my bedroom window, which is directly above the garage, and noticed the Corsa driving towards to gate. I shouted at them and they fired two shots at me."
He ran to the front door with his own gun, opened it slightly, and shot back at them.
Linda, who was still lying on the garage floor, heard the shots and feared the worst.
"I realised I had to get out before getting caught in the crossfire or being held hostage. I got up and my mother let me into the house," she said.
Her father's shooting sent the robbers fleeing without the cars. A security company's armed unit and the police arrived soon afterwards.
'He died a horrible death'
Coutinho, his son Michael and a security guard started searching the premises for Linda's keys. "I couldn't believe my eyes, but there he was, lying on the bottom of the pool, wearing a Springbok rugby jersey."
Linda said she thought "Ag shame".
"Although I was afraid I don't think he planned to hurt me. He died a horrible death. I wonder what had driven him to become a robber."