August 22 2008 at 09:41AM
Recalling how his attackers threatened to murder him, South Africa's most renowned rose cultivator has described how he was not prepared to die without a fight.
Remembering his harrowing ordeal at the hands of three gunmen, Ludwig Taschner, who owns Ludwig's Roses, north of Pretoria, spoke on Thursday about his nightmare from his bed at Eugene Marais Hospital.
Taschner, who was shot in both arms, said he was asleep on Monday night when three men came crashing into his room.
"I woke to the noise of the men jumping against my door and then crashing into my bedroom. When I realised what was happening they were already at me, screaming.
"They screamed for money and the more I tried to tell them that the money is in the office the more they screamed," he said. He described how they tied him up with cable ties before ransacking his bedroom searching for loot.
When the men, two of whom were armed, spotted his gun safe they immediately demanded the keys before helping themselves to a shotgun, revolver and a hunting rifle.
Leaving Taschner under the guard of their accomplice, two of the robbers left the room to search the house for more loot.
While sitting on the bed Taschner was threatened with death by his "guard".
"He kept on demanding money, saying if I did not give him money he would shoot and kill me."
The "guard" then left to join his accomplices, and to Taschner's amazement, he left his weapons on the bed next to him.
With the threat of death hanging over him, Taschner seized this chance, wriggling his hands free.
Grabbing the shotgun, Taschner waited for his attackers to return. "I was not going to let them kill me. I knew if I did not do anything they might kill me," he said.
As the men came back into his bedroom Taschner opened fire with the shotgun, narrowly missing the gunmen who returned fire, shooting him in his arm.
Bleeding profusely, Taschner managed to reload the gun with one hand before continuing to shoot at his attackers who came charging back at him.
The gunmen fled with their loot of a cellphone, laptop computer and several electrical appliances.
Taschner believes the men didn't want to kill him.
He somehow managed to push himself before he stumbled upon his daughter, Heike, who was watching petrified as her father's attackers escaped.
Joking, Taschner said the attack was a "nuisance" as it was forcing him to rest. "It is frustrating because I want to do so many things, but now I have no choice," he said.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on August 22, 2008