Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Robber empties gun on top matric

05/02/2008 23:05 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler, Beeld

Pretoria - A matriculant who got eight distinctions last year may have lost the use of her legs after an armed robber "emptied his gun on her".

Razelle Botha, 18, one of the top pupils at Waterkloof High School last year, was at her home in Norval Street, Moreletta Park, at 21:45 on Monday night when the robber shot her in the arm, chest, stomach, lung and spine.

Professor Willem Botha, a retired professor of geophysics at the University of Pretoria, was at home with his daughter when two robbers burst in. He was wounded in the groin.

The robbers fled with a laptop and a camera.

"I can't imagine how anyone can empty their gun on a child," said a heartbroken Kobie Botha, Razelle's mother, at hospital on Tuesday.

An orthopaedic surgeon at Pretoria East Hospital, Dr Etienne Coetzee, told Antoinette Pienaar on Tuesday afternoon that Razelle had been hit in one of her lower vertrebrae (L1).

In a serious condition

He operated on her on Tuesday morning to stop the bleeding and remove bone fragments, which were causing pressure.

Coetzee is worried that Razelle may not be able to walk again.

"It doesn't look as if she has retained any functions in her legs. She's still in a serious condition in the ICU and has a drainage pipe in her chest."

Razelle's mom said her daughter, who is a keen dancer, debater and nature photographer, had packed her clothes for a trip to Cape Town on Tuesday, where she planned to meet her boyfriend, Stefan Ungen.

"They were planning to fly to Switzerland, to work there for four months."

Instead, Stefan flew to Pretoria on Tuesday afternoon to be with Razelle.

Kobie said her husband had been setting the alarm in his room.

"He was sitting on the bed. When he looked up, there was a man with a revolver in front of him, who told him to lie down and shut up.

"He lay down on the bed, then tried to grab the revolver, but the man shot him.

"The robber then walked down the passage to Razelle's room, where he emptied his revolver on her.

Razelle could not understand why the man had shot her, said her mom.

At a photography meeting

"She said 'I was so surprised that he shot me. I was being friendly with him, and humble'."

Kobie, who lectures to student teachers at the University of Pretoria, was attending a photography meeting when her husband phoned and told her to come home urgently.

"I phoned a family member who is a doctor, the police and the ambulance."

Captain Colette Weilbach said Garsfontein police were investigating charges of armed robbery and attempted murder.


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