Monday, 25 December 2006

'Old man' uses pole as gunmen attack guests

December 22 2006 at 02:45PM

It was the sight of a gunman hitting his wife and threatening to do worse that drove a 64-year-old to turn on his attackers and probably save the lives of eight people.

And this despite him being shot twice.

On Friday morning Neville Huxham was in the ICU at Milpark Hospital, recovering from surgery last night to remove bullets from his back and left arm.

Hospital spokesperson Amelda Swartz said he was heavily sedated but in a stable condition.

For the seven guests who were at the Huxhams' Victory Park house last night, Neville is a hero who saved their lives.

The evening started out as a small dinner party on the verandah to honour the Huxhams' son, Julian, who is visiting from Australia.

Among the guests was Acacia, a 1-year-old girl.

Neville's wife, Carla, said she had been serving dessert when three armed men appeared.

"They cocked their guns and told us to lie under the table."

The men, in their mid-20s, had two handguns and had climbed over the back wall of the house.

"They told us, 'You be good, you don't want to go to heaven, you don't want to see Jesus'," said Steph Hartung, a family friend, last night from the Huxhams' verandah.

Chairs lay scattered on the floor, a cheesecake sat untouched.

Hartung said the robbers had taken each member of the Huxham family, one at a time, and got them to retrieve the valuables in the house.

"They kept referring to Neville as 'the old man'," Hartung said.

Neville's main concern, according to his wife, was for baby Acacia, who had started crying.

The robbers took Carla with them, but when she gave them all the money she had, she said, they had turned violent.

"I had R4 000 that I gave them. They said to me, 'You call this money?' They klapped me; they pulled my hair so hard I thought it was going to come out.

"Then they said, 'We are going to do horrible things to you'," Carla said.

As the man uttered the threat, Carla saw her husband suddenly jump up and start assaulting the man with a pole that had been laying close by.

"He just lost his cool, he started laying into the guy," said Carla.

Acacia's mother took the opportunity to grab her baby and run out of the house to get help.

The man Neville was attacking fired off several shots before fleeing.

One of the other men ran back into the house and grabbed a laptop and was chased back out by Neville and a guest.

It was then that Neville realised he had been shot.

"The one bullet had broken his arm and severed an artery," said his wife.

Apparently, police told the Huxham family that the three men had made their escape along the Braamfontein Spruit. However police lost them in the heavy rain.

"All I can say is that my husband deserves a medal, he saved us all," said Carla.

"If it wasn't for Neville, this would have been a long, long night," said Hartung.

Neville was to have another operation today but was expected to make a full recovery.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on December 22, 2006


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