UK celebrity Katie Price has been left ‘traumatised’ after she and two of her children were the victims of a carjacking at the hands of attackers in South Africa.
Price, 39, has told friends that she feared for the life of her two children, Princess, 10, and Junior 12.
All three were thrown out the vehicle by the attackers during their journey from Johannesburg to Swaziland in two people carriers as their mobile phones, laptops, passports and money were all stolen.
Sources say Junior needed a toilet stop as the convoy drove down the busy N17 in darkness as they approached the town of Chrissiesmeer in Mpumalanga province.
As both vehicles pulled onto the hard shoulder a following VW Golf with three men in it said to be high on drugs saw an opportunity and pulled in behind Price’s convoy.
According to police, the attackers were unarmed but assaulted the group, leaving one of the guards unconscious.
Their vehicles were ransacked of laptops, IPads, passports, cash and jewellery – but the robbers left behind a fortune in camera gear which the film crew had stored on board.
A source told The Sun: ‘Katie was terrified and frantically worried for her little ones. This was a horrific ordeal… every mum’s worst nightmare.’
Three people in Price’s car had to be rushed to hospital following Thursday’s attack.
Armed security guards have now been enlisted to protect Price and her children as they try to carry on the filming of the online documentary My Crazy Life.
The Chairman of the local Priority Committee on Tourist Safety in Mpumalanga, Athol Stark, believes it was an opportunistic robbery and not a targeted one.
Stark revealed afterwards how he and his wife helped comfort a shaken Price and her children and even took them all breakfast in bed later to cheer them up.
He said: ‘I would like to say that some people are saying this group were targeted because of Katie Price and who they were but I believe that was absolutely not the case
‘This was just the case of people being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was a group of opportunist robbers who saw people pull over in the dark at a roadside and robbed them.
‘There were millions and millions of rands worth of film equipment on the vehicles but they ignored that and justwanted was cash, laptops, mobiles and iPads and any jewellery etc.
If this was a targeted hit they would have gone for all the film equipment. When I talked to the tourist group later they were pretty sure these guys were high on something or other.
‘It is my understanding there were no weapons but it was a pretty nasty attack.
‘We as a group work closely with the South African Police Service and Government to help tourists in distress in our area whether it be they have broken down or victims of crime.
‘We were told within 30 minutes of the robbery of what had happened and we were told the robbers had thrown the keys for both vehicles into the bush and they were stranded.
‘So we sent out tow trucks to bring the vehicles to a hotel at Ermelo 45 minutes away from the robbery and we set about reassuring them and giving them a safe bed for the night.
‘The following morning when we realised exactly who we were dealing with we decided to move them to a secure location which was very private where nobody else was staying.
‘The police had gone back to the scene and searched the undergrowth by the roadside and recovered both sets of missing car keys and brought them back to our location in Ermelo.
‘They then started taking statements from the nine British tourists and the three men who made up their entourage who were South African and they had a chill out day to recover.
‘One of our guys gave Katie’s boy a football to play with which cheered him up and the grown ups joined him for a game of soccer which lightened the mood of everyone.
Once the gates were shut and security was on the door then Katie began to relax and so did the children. By then I had realised she was someone famous back in the UK.
‘They were all of course initially traumatised and anxious but began to calm down.
‘On Saturday morning Katie did not want to come down for breakfast so I took up breakfast for her and the children who were sat on the bed chilling out with their mother.
‘They were all in a much better state of mind after a good sleep.
‘There were nine people from the UK and initially most wanted to go home but in the end only one did and the rest decided to carry on to Swaziland to carry on their filming schedule.
‘I talked to Katie about what happened and she said one of the kids need to relieve himself but they stopped at the wrong place at the wrong time and these opportunists struck.
‘If they knew they were dealing with someone famous like Katie Price then they would have targeted her and the children but they didn’t. Everyone was robbed as simple as that. ‘
Police chief Brigadier Leonard Hlathi confirmed: ‘A British tourist and her two children were the victims of a robbery when they stopped on a road to allow the children to relieve themselves by the road.
‘The car came to a stop in a very dark place and that is when three men attacked them.
‘They have taken items including cash and laptops and personal items and then took the car keys from the ignition and threw them into the bush and ran off leaving them stuck by the side of the road.’
South Africa is renowned as the ‘car-jacking capital of the world’, with an average of 46 a day.