Saturday, 27 October 2007

Emile, 7, is hijacked - again

26/10/2007 07:18 - (SA)

Annelene Moses, Beeld

Johannesburg - He's just seven years old - and he's already lived through two hijacking.

Emile Sonnekus and his friend Luke, also 7, were with Luke's parents, Grant and Helen Murphy, when three armed men attacked them in front of Emile's house.

It was also the second hijacking in a fortnight in front of the same house in Malvern, on the East Rand.

Emile had to lie on the ground, face down, while the hijackers took his watch, cellphone and purse. The adults were assaulted.

Grant was hit over the head with a firearm and Helen was repeatedly kicked in the face.

Since then Emile has anxiously been asking his father Deon: "Do the baddies also hurt children?" He's also jittery whenever he sees a man with a cap, because one of the hijackers was wearing a cap.

Deon Sonnekus said he'd phoned the flying squad at about 20:00

He was apparently told that the police were attending to 20 cases that had come in that evening, and that the Cleveland police only had one vehicle.

The Primrose police finally arrived at 21:35 when the Murphys had gone off to get medical attention.

"I'm feel upset, and angry. If you're not rich and famous, like in Lucky Dube's case, forget about being helped. The person who answered the phone also wasn't even sure if it was a case for Cleveland or the Primrose police. He was just pathetic."

Sonnekus went out when the Murphys buzzed him at the gate. They wanted to drop Emile off after having taken the boys to see a movie at the Bedford Centre.

"I heard the hijackers screaming at them nearly hysterically, and turned around in my tracks to go and phone the police. I was afraid that if I went out, I would only make matters worse."

The robbers drove off with the Murphy's BMW and Sonnekus helped them into his house.

"There was trail of blood from the pavement to my front door.

"Helen had to have stitches and thinks her nose is broken. It's so brutal, how can you kick and hit people who're already lying on the ground?"

Four years ago, when Emile was just three, he was in a hijacking drama in front of their gate with his brother Simon, now 14, his sister Heleen, now 11, and their Amsterdam au pair.

And just two weeks ago a family member, Sassan Machhadi was also hijacked in front of the same gate.

Machhadi, a Capetonian, lived with the Sonnekus family for a while, when he did some work in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

"They hit him over the head with a pistol, and made off with a VW Polo rental, two laptops and his wallet. Everyone in our street's upset, strange vehicles are forever cruising up and down here, looking for a hijacking opportunity. Anarchy rules."

Captain Richard Zuma confirmed the incident. He said Cleveland police station had three vehicles available after hours, of which one was kept on standby.


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