A visiting King William’s Town mother was robbed at gunpoint in front of her two young children when they went for a walk at the Port Elizabeth beachfront yesterday.
Two gunmen attacked Maree Rushmere, 37, and her 66-year-old mother, Patricia Hayes, just metres from the Protea Hotel Marine.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said a case of robbery was being investigated.
“The attack happened as the victims were walking along the beachfront in Marine Drive,” she said.
“As they returned to their vehicle, they were accosted by two men.
“One produced a firearm. The women were ordered to lie on the ground and they were robbed of their personal belongings such as a chain, iPhone and wallet.”
Rushmere is the daughter of retired deputy provincial police commissioner, Trevor Hayes.
The incident happened yesterday afternoon when Rushmere, her two children, aged two and four, and her mother had gone for a walk at the beachfront.
“We arrived at about 2.45pm and walked down. Two guys came down from the beach and were watching us,” Rushmere said. “At that stage, I was not happy [as] we were the only ones at the beach.
“When we turned around, they took a short cut through the sand dunes, and when we got back to the steps they stopped us.”
The thugs pulled out a pistol and pointed it at the terrified women.
The incident took place in front of the young children, whom Rushmere described as being shaken up although not aware of what was happening
The men demanded a cellphone and wallet – containing her driver’s licence, bank cards and R1 600 in cash – from Rushmere, while Hayes was stripped of her jewellery.
Trevor Hayes, who had arrived at the scene later, said he was grateful his family had not been hurt.
“It is very unfortunate that this type of crime happens at this time of the year,” he said. “It’s opportunistic crime and they attack vulnerable people.
“Let’s hope the perpetrators will be apprehended.”