August 14 2009 at 11:00AM
By Jacques Breytenbach
A Bronkhorstspruit man of 84 miraculously survived a house robbery after lying in his own blood for over 27 hours before he was finally discovered by his daughter.
Tjaart Petrus (Piet) Knox was shot in the chest in the early hours of Wednesday morning during an armed robbery at his Riamarpark home.
The robbers then left Knox for dead, taking only the elderly man's firearm and two spotlights.
'I knew it was a crime scene. I knew he might have been dead'
Just after 3am on Wednesday, two men broke into Knox's home and made their way into his bedroom. The men searched his drawers, waking him in the process.
The robbers assaulted the elderly man, hitting him over the head with a firearm.
Knox tried to defend himself by pulling out his own pistol from underneath his pillow, but one of the robbers shot him in the chest. The men destroyed Knox's landline phone and fled with his firearm.
Yesterday morning, Knox's daughter Cecile, who lives six houses away from her father in Saron Street, realised something was wrong after he had not contacted her all day.
"Each morning he phones me at 7am. But on Wednesday morning I already left my house by then and so could not get the call. He also brings me the newspaper every day and even if I am not around, he leaves it with my domestic worker," Cecile said. She said when she did not get a call from him yesterday morning, she went to his house at 7.30am.
"I looked through the living room window only to see that there was blood everywhere," Cecile said.
"I couldn't get in. I did not really want to go in to be honest. I knew it was a crime scene. I knew he might have been dead," a tearful Cecile said.
Cecile, a local ward councillor, said she phoned the police and the paramedics immediately. Knox was rushed to Bronkhorstspruit Hospital but was later transferred to the Pretoria East Hospital and admitted to ICU.
Cecile said the fact that her father was still alive after his 27-hour ordeal was a miracle. "I have seen a number of miraculous things in my life, and this was definitely one," she said.
Another of Knox's daughters, Heather, said all her father asked her while in hospital was for a vanilla milkshake.
"He is just one of the most amazing people I've ever known. And he is one of those guys that wouldn't hurt a fly. Even as he was lying in ICU he said to me he did not hate anyone," Heather said.
Police said no arrests have been made.
Last night Knox was in a serious condition as one of his lungs had collapsed.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on August 14, 2009