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Police 'took 4 days to probe taxi shooting'

Actress Victoria Smurfit and her family were forced to contact police in South Africa for a second time in four days after a terrifying incident in which they were shot at.

They intitially contacted police less than an hour after it happened -- but heard nothing from detectives in the intervening time, leading them to report it a second time four days later.

Victoria and her husband, photographer and advertising executive Doug Baxter, escaped with their lives after a bullet hit a taxi they were travelling in while they were in Cape Town.

The couple were also travelling with Victoria's mum and her brother Dermot and his wife Charlie when the incident happened on New Year's Eve.

The innocent family were on holiday in Cape Town when the terrifying incident occurred.

Reacting

Doug told the Herald they immediately reported the incident to local police there -- and they were aware of the shooting at 12.40am on January 1, less than an hour after it happened.

And the family contacted police again four days later, after they heard nothing about the investigation, and were advised by a local councillor to contact them again.

Doug was reacting to reports in Cape Town that detectives there only became aware of the incident four days after it occurred, something which has been denied by the family.

Police and the Cape Town City Improvement District's (CCID) security expert has been reported in local media as saying they found it strange they were not informed of the incident until January 4, when the taxi driver filed a complaint of "attempted murder".

Speaking to the Herald, Doug insists that the terrifying event, which saw a bullet pass through their taxi's window, was in fact made known to police at 12.40am on January 1, less than an hour after it happened.

The dad-of-three said: "Fortunately, my brother-in-law is a solicitor and he knew exactly how to handle the matter.

"Basically what happened was that we reported it that night. Obviously it was ten to midnight when it happened so most people were preparing for the countdown and we didn't get to log the transcript of what had happened until 12.40am.

"We gave them the details but not much came of it until three or four days later when we were having lunch and we met a local councillor who said we should contact them again.

"Following this, two detectives came out and took a statement and arranged to come back the following day to take pictures and talk to everyone else but they never showed up."

He admits that the incident has had a huge impact on all those involved.

However Doug is adamant that neither he nor his actress wife, Victoria, have any axe to grind with South African police or the locals of Cape Town.

The founder of Ocean Advertising said: "I think everybody involved is just relieved to be alive."

lnolan@herald.ie


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