Saturday, 16 June 2007

Hijacked granny fights back

Tilda Debeil tells how she tried to fight off a hijacker who shot at her and kicked her. (Theana Calitz, Beeld)

15/06/2007 09:06 - (SA)

Christel Raubenheimer, Beeld

Pretoria - A 64-year-old Pretoria interior decorator was roughed up, shot at and kicked in the stomach on Thursday, before finally being rammed with her own car. But Tilda Debeil, 64, decided that her attacker was not going to get away without a good scrap.

"I just said sorry, you're not getting it. Even when he was already in the car, I chased after him.

"I went to collect the grandchildren from Lynwood primary school's after-care centre at about 14:10.

"The next minute this little man was on top of me. I refused to give him the key to my car, and he grabbed me.

"I saw a firearm, but I thought it was a toy gun," Debeil said at her home in Brooklyn, Pretoria.

Shot missed her

During the scuffle Debeil luckily knocked the robber's arm away, and the shot that he fired missed her.

It was only when she heard the gunshot that she realised it was a real weapon.

The robber kicked her in the stomach, grabbed her key and jumped in the car.

Debeil still did not stop making the hijacking as difficult as possible. She grabbed the car's door and slammed it on his arm several times.

"He was in the car, and I was slamming the door on his arm. Then he reversed into me with the door against me," she said.

"You scream but there's no-one who'll help you. It's horrible: you don't stand a chance."

A friend of Debeil and her husband Jaques, 67, was driving past by chance and he thought she was being killed with her own car.

He saw another car waiting on the corner. There were several people sitting in the vehicle and it drove off as soon as Debeil's car had been hijacked.

'Why should we just surrender?'

She said: "I reacted instinctively. You can't just give in. Why should we just surrender? If I realise now that he could definitely have killed me, I have my doubts about what I did.

"If I managed to knock one down, maybe two others were waiting," she said.

In the end, the robber got away with her new Toyota Corolla and her handbag, which she had left in the car.

"My arm is painful and I have a lump on my head. What kind of country do we live in? We're steadily getting angrier, but it doesn't help. It really doesn't help at all."


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