Two Witbank smallholders survive attacks with injuries

Gordon Cooke, shot in spine, Witbank Blesbok Country lodge AH Witbank, 26 Dec 2010 1am, by four black attackers. Cooke now is in serious condition in Pretoria Unitas hospital – other unnamed smallholder also shot and injured that same evening…

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Cooke Gordin_shot in spine_fiancee BiancaBarrand_WitbankBlesbokcountrylodge 26 Dec 2010

Marius Avenant writes on Facebook December 28 2010. PRETORIA, South Africa.  “I was in personal contact with Miss Bianca Barrand who lives with her fiance on a smallholding outside Witbank. They were awoken on Sunday Morning 26 December 2010 shortly after 01h00 by intruders who were in the process of gaining access through a bathroom window. Her fiance Mr Gordon Cooke was shot in the neck by one of the two intruders who were already inside. According to Mr Cooke, there were more attackers on the outside – probably two more.
“His fiancee Ms Barrand hit the panic button and the attackers fled the scene.The panic alarm was answered by a member of the property owner’s family and the neighbourhood watch and police were quick to react to the call. Mr Cooke is in the hospital in Pretoria in a serious, stable condition: the bullet is still lodged in his neck and the doctors suspect that he may be paralysed, but will only know for sure once the swelling is down and more scans and tests can be done. According to miss Barrand she was informed this morning, December 28 2010, that there was another attack on a nearby smallholding where an elderly gentleman was also shot in the stomach. More information is not available yet.” Avenant: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001566674423

Her mother Benita de Winnaar confirms the story, writing me:

“The couple are my daughter Bianca Barrand and her fiance Gordon Cooke and their 8 month old daughter Abigail. They lived at the Blesbok Country Lodge, 7 km outside Witbank. On 26 December at about 00:30 Bianca heard some noises  and woke Gordon up. When he walked to the laundry two black guys had already removed the burglarproof guards and one was already inside the house. Gordon shouted at them to try to scare them but that didn’t scare them at all. The one man fired a shot and hit Gordon in the neck. Gordon then shouted at Bianca to call for help.

“Bianca asked for help on the two-way radio. She took the 8 month old baby , wrapped her in a blanket and hid on the floor between the bed and the wardrobe. The one man walked in and saw Bianca. She asked him ‘not to kill her and her baby but that he could take everything’. The second one then called back the man in the bedroom. On their way out they picked up the Speed Queen washing machine and threw it on Gordon lying injured on the ground. The burglars took a lot of stuff and managed to get away just before the neighbourhood watch arrived on the scene. Gordon was first taken to Kosmos Hospital in Witbank but was transferred later to UNITAS hospital in Pretoria. The bullet is still in his neck and according to doctors it has hit the spine. The damage to the spine and nerve system could not yet be established 100% due to the swelling in his neck. The operation cannot be done due to this swelling and even if they operate there maybe a change that he could be paralysed.” http://www.facebook.com/benita.dewinnaar

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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