Free State granny tricks drunk house robber to escape brutal attack

Nonnie van Rensburg said the attacker repeatedly beat her before tying her up. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF / Rafaelbenari

Begging for mercy, an 84-year-old Free State pensioner conned a house robber, who had held her captive for six hours, into loosening the ropes he had tied her up with.

“I didn’t know what else to do. I told him my hand was going to fall off. I think because he was drunk he believed me,” Nonnie van Rensburg told TimesLIVE.

She said her ordeal took place on Saturday morning when a robber, who is believed to be linked to at least seven other house robberies in Ventersburg, forced his way into her home.

Van Rensburg, who lives alone, said the attacker repeatedly beat her before tying her up.

“I thought it was my last day on earth. I just prayed to God that if I was to die it would be a quick and painless death.”

Once he had tied her up, the robber ransacked her house.

“He got hold of a bunch of keys. He was trying to unlock cupboards. He found my drinks cabinet, where I keep my good whisky. When he opened it he found the good stuff inside. He sat down on the chair and drank it. You could see he had no idea what he was drinking. He was just drinking to get drunk,” she said.

It was when he demanded to know where the bathroom was that Van Rensburg decided to try to break free.

“My hand was swollen and blue. I told him it would fall off and there would be blood everywhere. I think because he was drunk he believed me.”

After untying her swollen hand, the robber went to the bathroom.

“I was so scared he would finish in the bathroom before I had a chance to untie my other hand.”

With her ropes undone, Van Rensburg crept to the bathroom and slammed the door shut, locking it from the outside.

“Fortunately, I always leave the key in the outside of the door.”

As the robber tried to smash open the door, she ran to look for her remote panic button, which she eventually found under her bed.

Despite being bruised and hurt, she alerted the security company, found a spare key for her back door and escaped.

“I am too old for this. I am just too tired to deal with all this crime. I am listening to people now, including my children, and am going to move into an old age home which is close to my house,” she said.

“I don’t know how I survived. Looking at what the robber did to my bathroom, and how he broke the door and window, I think if he had got out while I was still inside he would have murdered me.

“I am just grateful that I am still alive and that the only thing that he managed to take was my really old cellphone.”

Danie de Kock of Gosec Security said when they responded to the panic alarm the robber had already escaped through the bathroom window.

He said crime in the area, especially house robberies and burglaries, had worsened.

“At one point it was under control but it is really bad again,” he said.

BY Graeme Hosken

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