Friday, 14 March 2008

Brutal farewell for family

Savanah Lubbe, 8, safely back with her dad after she was tied up during an armed robbery at her home on a smallholding near Pretoria. (Leon Botha, Beeld)

13/03/2008 23:26 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler, Beeld

Pretoria - Two days after a family got their visas to emigrate to Australia because of the crime in South Africa, five robbers held them up in their home.

They were burnt with irons and the robbers threatened to rape the woman in front of her husband and children.

During their ordeal, which lasted more than two hours, Rachelle Lubbe, 41, from a small holding in Hennops River, was burned with a hot iron on her left breast, arm and shoulder.

Then, the robbers pulled down her trousers and burned her on her left buttock.

Chris Lubbe, 43, a mechanical engineer, also was burned repeatedly on his back with a hot iron.

Kicked in the face

The couple's children - twins Shelden and Cameron, 13, Damian, 16, and eight-year-old Savanah - also were assaulted and Damian was kicked in the face.

During their reign of terror the robbers ate the family's food and drank their beer and milk.

Rachelle said: "We decided to emigrate because of crime. Now it has happened to us, too, while the rest of the country sits and waits its turn."

Her husband said that as soon as they had their passports they would be on the first plane out of the country.

The robbers broke in through the twins' bedroom window at about 23:00 and, holding guns under the boys' chins, marched them to the lounge.

Eyes filled with hate

Damian and his father were attacked in the lounge.

Rachelle went to investigate when she heard noises.

She encountered an armed robber. She said: "His eyes were filled with hate."

The family was kept in the lounge where the robbers tied them up.

"They thought we had bags full of money in the house and they burnt us with the iron so that we would give it to them, but we didn't have money in the house."

"When they began pulling down my trousers the twins shouted, 'No, Mom!' but I told them not to worry. It's okay."

"I opened the safe for them and they took, among other things, guns, jewellery, my wedding ring and R600 from my purse.

"They also stole R200 which Shelden had saved."

The robbers took Chris into his bedroom at one stage, where a shot went off, but he was not hit.

'I'm going to shoot your father'

While Chris was away from his family, Cameron said to his mother, "Mom, let's pray."

One of the robbers said: "Pray, pray because I am going to shoot your father now."

Savanah said to the attackers, "If you don't shoot my parents, they're going to draw money for you at an ATM."

Before they fled with the family's bakkie and belongings worth thousands of rand, the men tried to hang Chris.

Rachelle said: "One of them put a rope around Chris's neck and pulled it tight.

"One of the others loosened it and told his crony, 'Let's just go'."

Leaving with bad memories, scars

One of the robbers also repeatedly said to Chris, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

After the men fled, the family wriggled free and went to the neighbours for help.

Captain Patricia Simelane said the stolen bakkie was found in Diepsloot, southwest of Pretoria.

Rachelle said "It's a pity that we have to leave the country with such bad memories and scars."


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