February 25 2009 at 06:06AM
Justin Browne's hands had been tied behind his back with his shoelaces by four armed men in his bedroom.
After three of them left, he managed to free himself and turned to his wife Geordie.
He kissed her on the head and told her "I love you, I will always love you", before rugby-tackling the remaining gunman in the room.
Geordie was testifying at the Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday against the men - Kaman Kenneth Mukhari, 34, alias Mario dos Santos, Jose Aurelio, 34, alias Domingo Mathebula, and Sidumo Mabaso, 34, - charged with the murder of Justin on August 25, 2007.
Justin was a general manager for events company Strike Productions when his assailants slit his throat in his Northwold, Randburg, home.
Geordie said she was in her bedroom with her husband and children, then aged four and seven - a third child was not at the house at the time - watching TV when they heard their dogs barking outside.
Justin and Geordie went to investigate, and when she shone a torch in the direction of where her dogs were barking, she saw a man climbing over her wall and out of her property.
"At the same time, I heard a click sound behind me. As I turned around, I saw another black man with a gun to Justin's neck. Minutes later, the same man who jumped over my fence was now in my face. He had a knife to my neck," Geordie remembered.
She said they forced both of them into their bedroom, where they tied their hands behind their backs and demanded their wedding rings, guns and money.
The robbers took her husband's cellphone; her training shoes; two Audi A4 car keys; electrical equipment, including laptops and computers; and loaded it all into their vehicles.
As Justin tackled Mukhari rugby-style, a shot went off.
"As the shot went off, I realised I was shot but did not know where," Geordie said.
She vividly remembered how she bundled her children to safety, leaving her husband with the robbers, who had regrouped in their bedroom.
Her testimony was due to continue today (Wednesday).
This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on February 25, 2009