Monday, 23 February 2009

'Your life is never safe'

Graeme Hosken

February 23 2009 at 07:36AM

Moments after telling his heavily pregnant wife that his biggest dream was to hold his unborn daughter, a Pretoria father-to-be, Johan Boshoff-Serenata, 28, was gunned down in front of her.

"That's the last thing he said to me. Those were his last words," said an emotional Grazietta Boshoff-Serenata, 29.

Johan, who owned the company Hand-O-Man which designed and developed sporting fields, was shot dead on Saturday night in his Pretoria East home in Savannah Hills Country Estate - described by residents as the safest security complex in the capital.

The couple had only hours before completed their move into their new home, built close to Silverlakes Estate.

As the two prepared to go to bed, Grazietta, who is nearly seven months' pregnant, was alerted to a group of men breaking into their house by the barking of their dogs.

The men, who were armed with guns and knives, apparently dug a tunnel under the perimeter wall near the N4 highway to gain access to the complex, which is surrounded by high voltage electric fencing as well as CCTV cameras.

Looking out of the window, Grazietta spotted two men climbing through a window.

Screaming for her husband to lock and barricade their bedroom door, Grazietta watched in horror as the robbers opened fire, shooting him twice as he tried to keep their attackers out.

After kicking open the door, the gunmen continued to shoot, hitting Johan again as he lay bleeding to death on the floor.

As she hid in a corner to protect herself and her unborn child, one of the gunmen tried to rip her wedding ring off her finger.

Unable to do so, the man tried to bite her finger off to remove the ring. He was stopped by one of his accomplices as Grazietta pleaded with him to leave her alone and allow her to take the ring off.

Grazietta managed to suck her ring off her finger and give it to her attackers.

As she tried to move towards her dying husband, the men beat her before ransacking her house, stealing cellphones, jewellery and other valuables.

Describing her husband as the most adoring man in the world, a distraught Grazietta on Sunday said all he wanted to do was hold his unborn daughter.

Grazietta said the attack had felt like it was never going to end.

"There was so much noise. People were screaming and shouting. I just remember Johan screaming at the men over and over again to leave us alone but they wouldn't.

"He was not trying to fight them. All he was doing was trying to protect me and our unborn child.

"When they started shooting, he yelled and then fell. That was when they came inside.

"They carried on shooting before one of them jumped over the bed while the others attacked me.

"I was petrified. I did not know what was happening.

"All I could think of was protecting my baby and saving my husband.

"I tried so hard to help Johan but they would not let me. They kept on stopping me," she said.

Grazietta said they had moved to the estate because of its renowned security, only for this to happen.

"It is clear that your life is never safe no matter where you live. There is no such thing as a safe place in South Africa.

"The proof is that I am a widow at the age of 29 and that my child is fatherless because of crime."

Police spokesperson Constable Mabel Sibande said the suspects, who had yet to be arrested, had stolen a laptop computer, three cellphones and jewellery.

She confirmed that the suspects had gained access to the estate by digging a hole under the perimeter wall.

Sibande said a case of murder and armed robbery was under investigation.


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