EXCLUSIVE: Shooting rampage survivor speaks

‘‘I HOPE this never happens to anyone else,’’ is the heartbreaking wish of one of the survivors of Monday morning’s dramatic shooting at a Doonside block of flats, in which three people died.

Click here to read : Doonside shooting leaves three dead

And while Richard Northmore (60) survived being shot by the gunman – his brother-in-law Nicolaas Els – he knows the pain that the family of the other deceased person is going through, as he lost his sister, Belinda Els in the dramatic shooting that erupted at about 7.05am at Sunsands in Doonside’s Beach Road.

Click here to read: Police probe Doonside shooting carnage

When Els (67) finished with Northmore, he ran off downstairs to the first floor, where he shot the building’s caretaker Butch van der Watt in the head, killing him. He then headed for the second floor flat where his estranged wife, Belinda Els (62) was being accompanied by her attorney, Yolandi van der Watt to fetch some clothing from the flat the couple used to share.

‘‘I HOPE this never happens to anyone else,’’

Northmore said his army training and experience as a male nurse saved him from certain death. He had just stepped out of the building’s lift onto the eighth floor where his flat is, when he saw Els emerge from the staircase. “He aimed the gun at my head and luckily, my army training kicked in,” said Richard. “I ducked as he pulled the trigger, and was hit in the shoulder.”
The bullet passed through his shoulder and lodged in the front door of his flat.

Doonside shooting survivor, Richard Northmore (without shirt)

Doonside shooting survivor, Richard Northmore (without shirt)

Out of fear for his wife, who was inside the flat at the time, Northmore lay where he fell, in the hope that Els would think he was dead. “I was too scared to move, and was afraid he’d hurt my wife,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

“I was too scared to move, and was afraid he’d hurt my wife,”

Police have named those caught up in the shooting, after the next-of-kin were notified. According to the family, the couple was divorcing.
The 31-year-old attorney Yolandi van der Watt, who was also the caretaker’s daughter, sustained a gunshot wound to the neck and is critical in ICU after undergoing surgery to remove bullet fragments.

Click here to read : Woman survives surgery after shooting

Police say Els then shot himself. Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him and he was declared dead at the scene at 8.32am.

Toti police are investigating a case of double murder, attempted murder and inquest. Belinda is survived by six children and 10 grandchildren. Nicolaas is survived by three children and three grandchildren. Yolandi has two young daughters, aged nine-months and two-years-old. Contrary to social media speculation, there were no children in the flat at the time of the shootings.

His voice thick with suppressed tears, Richard expressed his sincere condolences to Butch’s family and reiterated his prayer that no-one would have to endure such an horrific incident again.


Photo gallery:

Michelle Izatt
Managing Editor

Latest News


Next Story x
Bakkie rolls, injures 21