Phoenix father dies trying to save his family

Raman Angamothu Munian in happier times.

A dad defending his two sons from a callous intruder paid for his bravery with his life, when he was stabbed and later succumbed to his injuries at Gandhi Memorial Hospital on Friday.

Raman Angamothu Munian known fondly as ‘Barney’ to residents of the close-knit community of Ferapalm Close in Palmview had been preparing to go to McCord’s Hospital for his monthly eye check up when he was accosted by two intruders at his door on Friday at approximately 4:15am.

According to his daughter in law, well-known local comedian Natashia Portrag, also known as ‘Tash’, the 68-year-old grandfather was about to inform his sons that he was leaving when the incident transpired.

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The pair allegedly began hitting the elderly man in the lounge, prompting him to scream for help, alerting his sons who were asleep in separate bedrooms.

Upon hearing repeated pleas for help, the siblings woke up and tried to help their father fight off the intruders.
During the scuffle, one suspect ran out of the house while his accomplice, who had a red back pack remained, forcing the brothers to restrain him by locking him in the bathroom.

At this time, the terrified family contacted the police and alerted neighbours of the happenings. However, while waiting for the police, the suspect in the bathroom was breaking stuff in the bathroom and suddenly kicked and pulled the door open.

He came out of the bathroom with a knife which he used to attack one of the brother’s and Munian. The scuffle between the suspects and the brothers continued, leading outside the house.

The two brothers remained defiant, trying to prevent the suspect from entering one of the rooms, where Munian’s two-year-old grandson and his mother were asleep.  Frantic neighbours also gathered outside the house and managed to apprehend the suspect and later handed him over to the police.

Portrag told Phoenix Sun that it was only this time that the elderly son, Deveshen, went inside the house to check on his father. The son made the grisly discovery of his father lying in a pool of blood.

A short while later, emergency services members were summoned to the scene and Munian was taken to hospital.
Portrag said upon arrival at the hospital, her father-in-law had a convulsion because he had lost too much blood and suffered a heart attack.

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“The hospital staff tried to revive him four times but sadly his heart had stopped,” she said. While the two sons and Munian’s only daughter were too distraught to speak about the ordeal, Portrag said they are still struggling to come to terms with the heinous death of her father-in-law.

“He died a hero. He died trying to save his sons and took the last breath for his sons. He was a selfless man who went an extra mile to take care of the people he loved,” she said. Meanwhile, residents in the area are up in arms with lack of security in the area.

Community leader, Vivian Pillay, said the tragic loss of one of their own has renewed calls for a Community Policing Forum to be launched to deal with crime in the area. “Crime has escalated in this area, people are afraid to drive in and out of their homes,” said Pillay.

Phoenix SAPS communications officer, Cpt Louise Naidoo, confirmed that a 39-year-old suspect has been arrested by the Phoenix police after he and an accomplice entered a home in Ferapalm Close, Palmview on Friday morning.
Cpt Naidoo said the suspect in an attempt to scare Munian and his family drew a firearm which they immediately saw was a toy firearm.

“The suspect used that firearm to hit Munian and the firearm broke. Both the suspect and Munian were taken to hospital for medical examination. The suspect was treated and discharged and is being detained at the Phoenix SAPS police cells.

Munian, however, was admitted at Gandhi Memorial Hospital with a stab wound to the left arm, chest, left eye and above the left eye,” said Cpt Naidoo. Munian was laid to rest on Saturday. His funeral was attended by scores of relatives, friends, members of the community and community leaders. He is survived by his two sons, daughter and grandson.

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