09/01/2009 09:30 - (SA)
Nespruit - A rusty pistol that jammed as an attacker fired a third shot at a farmer from Belfast, Mpumalanga, probably saved his life... and claimed the villain's.
"The unexpected hitch definitely saved me. It gave me time to reach for my own pistol and shoot back," Nico van Staden, 44, said on Thursday.
The attacker was fatally shot as he and Van Staden were wrestling. Van Staden wasn't wounded.
On the night of the incident Van Staden and his two children, Nieke, 9, and Rikus, 15, had been to visit their neighbour, Kobus Maré.
"Shortly after 20:00 we stopped in front of the gate leading to the house. Rikus wanted to get out to unlock the gate when the attacker struck."
Van Staden forcibly pushed open his bakkie's door, striking the villain with the door.
"We were wrestling wildly. I only realised there was more than one when one of them hit me from behind.
"The attacker fired two shots at me. When he pulled the trigger a third time, the gun jammed," Van Staden said.
Those few seconds gave him the time to draw his own pistol from the holster on his hip.
He fired two shots at the attacker, hitting him in the chest. The man was killed instantly.
Van Staden also fired at his associates, who then ran away.
Apparently the pistol the attacker was using belonged to the police. It had been buried in the ground for some time after being stolen.
At the time of the attack Van Staden's wife, Martie, 43, was in Cape Town, attending a funeral. She arrived home on Thursday morning.
Van Staden said since the attack his children have been living in fear. "They are now scared to death of being on the farm."
On Wednesday night the children slept on the neighbouring farm that belongs to Francois Prinsloo.