cry, the beloved country

Pretoria News Article:  Front Page:  July 16, 2009

Tuks woman feared paralysed after attack

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“A Pretoria University sports projects co-ordinator is feared paralysed after she was shot in the chest while trying save her husband’s life during a botched house robbery.

Pat Beckmann, 60, was asleep in the family’s Constantia Park home when she and her husband, Colin, 63, were attacked during the early hours of yesterday (WED) morning.

The attack, the fourth in as many days, appears to be part of continuous bloody siege on city homeowners and appears unstoppable with criminals murdering and maiming Pretoria residents at will.

On Monday Pretoria businessman, Nick Roets, 56, was shot dead in his Raslouw smallholding less than 48 hours after Cullinan mielie farmer Piet van den Berg, 64, was gunned down on his plot.

Van den Berg was shot dead on Saturday by gunmen who then tried to burn his wife, Madeleine, 59, to death when they locked her in a cupboard and then set the house alight.

Beckmann was shot yesterday (WED) as she ran through her house in an attempt to save her husband who was struggling with two gunmen in their garden.

He was attacked by three men as he walked through his garden and back into his house after wheeling out a dustbin for rubbish collection.

Unbeknown to Beckmann one of her husband’s attackers, who spotted her turning on a bedroom light, was waiting in the passage for her and shot her as she ran past him.

The bullet, fired from almost pointblank range, tore through her right hand and breast puncturing her lung before it lodged itself against her spine.

The trio fled empty handed moments after they shot Beckmann.

An emotional Colin Beckmann, speaking from outside Pretoria East Hospital’s intensive care unit where his wife is in a serious condition, said the attack was over within minutes.

“As I was walking through the garden I saw the men running at me and heard them screaming at me to standstill.”

As instinct kicked in, Beckmann, fearing for his sleeping wife’s safety, immediately tackled and wrestled two of them to the ground.

As he wrestled with two of the men the third pointed a gun Beckmann’s head and tried to shoot him, but missed when he (Beckmann) managed to push one of the gunman’s accomplices into him deflecting the gun as it was fired.

Hearing the commotion outside their bedroom, Pat Beckmann, jumped up and grabbed a pepper spray gun and ran down the passage – straight into the man who had just tried to kill her husband.

Beckmann said when he heard the shot and saw the men fleeing he knew something terrible had happened.

“When I did not see any blood I thought she was alright, but I began to panic when I saw Pat could not breathe or move.”

Beckmann, fighting back tears, said the doctors believed that his wife would be paralysed.

“The bullet apparently hit her spine which is now damaged,” he said.

Beckmann, recalling the moment he was confronted by the gunmen, said: “When they told me to standstill I refused. I was not going to let them get to my wife.

“I tried really hard to stop them. I was fighting them like crazy. I managed to tackle two of them, but I could not get to the third,” he said, staring blankly at his hands.

Pretoria East Hospital spokeswoman, Ronel Leyds, said Beckmann was undergoing a series of tests to determine the extent of her injuries.

“She will undergo an operation later this week,” she said.

Garsfontein police station spokeswoman Sergeant Lynnette Erasmus said no arrests had been made and that the suspects had escaped without taking anything.

She said a case of attempted murder and attempted house robbery was being investigated.

Anyone with information on the suspects whereabouts or identities can contact Crime Stop on 0860010111.

Article by Graeme Hosken.  He is a crime reporter with the Pretoria News and his e-mail address is:

Pat is slowly recovering in the ICU unit of the Pretoria East Hospital.

She will never walk again. Her dreams about her retirement years have been shattered.

Nick Roets and Piet van den Berg have been killed.

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