‘Thugs’ attack tourists

Gareth Cairncross

Two Hout Bay residents sent criminals packing in separate incidents at the weekend.

Only a day after Albert Road resident Gareth Cairncross used a broom handle to chase off a gang of four assailants who had severely beaten an out-of-town visitor, a Hughenden resident brandished an axe to ward off three home invaders, two of whom were later arrested.

Numerous incidents of theft, robbery and home invasions have been reported in Hout Bay recently.

Last weekend’s incidents have brought home this reality, and it was only thanks to the quick actions of these residents that the outcomes were not worse.

Mr Cairncross had been working on his laptop listening to music on his headphones, on Friday January 27, at 9.30pm, when girlfriend, Misty Irving, heard screaming next door.

Mr Cairncross immediately went outside and through the gap in his gate saw four men trying to open his neighbour’s gate.

“A young guy in his 20s has been staying there, and his dad had been visiting from George. I saw that they had arrived in a dark silver Toyota Tazz with blacked-out windows. These guys were screaming and swearing at them. They were super aggressive,” he said.

“I quickly rushed back inside to put on my shoes. I was looking for any weapon I could and so grabbed our broom and twisted the head off before running back outside.”

When he reached the scene, the tenant’s father was on the ground and had been beaten unconscious,.

“He was unconscious, but all four of them were still kicking him. They were extremely violent, and I suspect they were on something. That was when I ran up with the broomstick and started hitting at them.

“I hit the one guy in the ribs, and the broomstick shattered. My intention was to get these guys away from the father. Then all four swamped me. I managed to grab one and they all started swinging at me. I was hitting back, and I know I connected one guy, you could hear the crack.”

That assailant, he said, had then run back to the car, prompting the other three to follow.

“Throughout all this, the young guy was obviously trying to help his dad. Once the guys left, I ran over to him to see if I could help, checking his pulse and things like that. Another young guy arrived, I’m not sure who he was, but he told me that he had actually done his first aid course on that day so he tried to help as well.”

Meanwhile, the young tenant’s landlord had called the emergency services.

“They were all there – ADT, Deep Blue Security, police and ambulance. They were really good,” said Mr Cairncross.

It was only later that Mr Cairncross learnt there had been several incidents preceding the attack on the man and his son, who have both since left for George.

“I was told that these guys’ vehicle had been driving around all day, casing the neighbourhood. My landlady told us that she had seen a suspicious vehicle earlier that day.

“When it got dark, they were driving around without their headlights on. I’m not exactly sure of the circumstances, but the father and son were either coming back from dinner or going to dinner when they accidentally bumped these guys’ vehicle.

“There were two guys at that stage, and after threatening the father and son, who had locked the gate, they went away. Then they came back with the other guys, about 10 minutes later.”

There was speculation that there was “alcohol involved” in the incident and that three men and a girl had been responsible for the assault of the man.

But Ms Irving denied that, saying those people had not been involved at all and had only arrived afterwards. She added that she did not know where the father and son had been to dinner or to drink.

“Gareth only ran out after he was on the ground and they were kicking him. He did not just fall down drunk,” she said.

JJ de Villiers, of Community Crime Prevention, who was on the scene, referred queries to Hout Bay police. Station spokesperson Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch said information from police officers and Mr De Villiers indicated that three men and a girl had been involved. Aside from a few missing studs from his shirt and the shattered broom, Mr Cairncross walked away unharmed.

“I think in situations like these, a person does try to help. What I’ve learnt from this is that you do need to be prepared, you’ve got to have something (weapon) with you. This town has some bad elements.”

In the second incident, at 11am, on Saturday January 29, a man fought off a gang of three home invaders.

Mr De Villiers said the men had been wearing balaclavas and were armed with knives. It was uncertain who the axe belonged to, but the resident managed “knick one of the guys on the head”.

“The men then ran away towards Main Road, and two of them were apprehended by Deep Blue Security.”