On Monday the murder charges against Giel Fourie a 65-year-old man from Grabouw in the Western Cape who shot and killed a robber in his home were withdrawn in the local magistrate’s court and he is now a free man.
Earlier this year, Giel made news headlines when he shot and killed an intruder in his home on 3 January. Giel’s wife, Susan (62), and their 11-year-old granddaughter had also been in the home at the time of the incident.
He and Susan had been in the kitchen making pies they supply to local shops when a man walked into their home in broad daylight, according to Giel.
He confronted the man, who was armed with a knife, and grabbed hold of his arms. But the man managed to wriggle free and ran across the room. That’s when Giel fetched his gun from the safe.
Meanwhile, the intruder was threatening Giel’s wife and granddaughter with the knife.
“I fired a warning shot but the guy didn’t respond,” Giel recalls.
Then Giel shot the man twice in the chest, killing him.
Giel was charged with murder and released on R500 bail.
“My year started badly. I’m extremely relieved that it’s all over,” Giel told YOU.
“We’d suspected the charges would be withdrawn because it [the shooting] had absolutely been in self-defence.”
He says though he and Susan have managed to put the nightmare experience behind them, their granddaughter is still struggling to cope.
“It’s over, but he ghost of it will be in the house for a long time to come. The feeling of what happened here still lingers.
“My granddaughter has been to see a psychologist because she’s too scared to go to sleep or even to the bathroom on her own.”
Giel has now installed a second security gate at the back door.
The incident hadn’t been the first time the same intruder had broken into the Fouries’ home.
During a previous housebreak he’d tied Susan to a bed with cable ties and forced her to give him money – he fled with R1 500.
“I’ve learnt a lot since this year’s incident. You think you’re safe but you’re really not,” Giel reckons.
“Both times the robber climbed over the trellis gate. And it doesn’t always happen at night – they watch you during the day. The first time was at 11am in the morning and the last time at 12pm.”
Last week, Giel and Susan celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.
“It [the shooting] was definitely the hardest thing we’ve lived through together,” he says.
He adds they were both quite fearful for some time after the incident but have since made peace with it.
“We’re happy the charges were dropped but we won’t be celebrating it. We’re just letting things be. Of course it was hard knowing I’d killed someone but I’ve accepted it now.
“If I hadn’t done it, I may have lost my wife and granddaughter.”