04/08/2008 07:47 - (SA)
Virginia Keppler, Beeld
Pretoria - An elderly man from Doornpoort in Pretoria was shot several times and his wife was assaulted early on Saturday morning, before they were robbed.
Emilio Couto, 67, collapsed and died in a pool of blood where the robbers shot him.
His wife, Maria, 59, tried to push the bedroom door closed while the robbers fired shots through the door.
She said her husband's last words were: "No, my love."
The robbers broke the burglar bars on the kitchen window and then unlocked the kitchen door.
Emilio woke up first. Maria said: "I heard him say, 'No, my love,' and I woke up because I thought he was having a nightmare."
When she realised what was happening, she tried to push the bedroom door closed.
Then, it was quiet
"At that stage, I didn't realise that my husband wasn't in the room with me anymore. Then I heard four shots as they were shooting at me through the door."
Emilio was fighting the attackers outside the door. Maria said: "It was God's hand that one of the shots did not hit me."
Maria said she heard shots again and then it was quiet. The robbers then kicked the door open and hit her on the head and shoulder with a firearm.
"I screamed and they shouted: 'Keep quiet, keep quiet.' They wanted to know where our safe, guns and cellphones were. I said we didn't have a safe or guns."
The robbers took the couple's four cellphones, some jewellery and a laptop. They dropped the plasma-screen television and it broke.
After the robbers had fled, Maria pressed the panic button. She said the security company, Computer Alarm, did not respond.
Took part in march
"Eighteen years ago, my mother Deloris de Freitas, 66, was murdered in her house in Johannesburg.
"I even took part in the march against crime, but they (the murderers) just come back," she said, crying.
"I had a wonderful husband. He was always protective and loving. I'm going to miss him."
A suspect, who worked for the couple some time ago, has been taken in for questioning.
An employee at Computer Alarms said the owners of the company were not available for comment.