Former Royal Navy sailor Julian Stobbs, 59, suffered multiple gunshot wounds defending his partner, after an armed gang broke into his farmhouse near Lanseria in Johannesburg. The horrific attack took place during the early hours on Friday July 3, while the war hero was asleep alongside his long-term partner Myrtle Clarke, 53, in their bedroom.
Emergency services rushed to the couple’s remote Jazz Farm but he was pronounced dead at the scene, his partner escaped unharmed.
South African authorities confirmed the attackers made away with two laptops, jewellery and other valuables.
The fatality was also confirmed in a statement on the couple’s official Facebook page.
A spokesman of the Neighbourhood Watch response team said: “The gang broke into the farm and stole two phones and two laptops and jewellery and other valuables.
Falklands War veteran Julian Stobbs died aged 59
“They had left the farm leaving the two alive but for some reason they came back again, perhaps for the woman, and there was a struggle and the man was shot.
“His injuries from the bullets were bad and nothing could be done to save him. The woman was in a very bad state but fortunately had not been hurt.”
Julian Stobbs served with the Royal Navy on HMS Penelope in the Falklands in 1982.
The former British serviceman was also an air traffic controller for a Lynx helicopter during the battle.
Mr Stobbs, originally from Cumbria, left the armed forces in 1990 and went on to persue a music career in Tokyo – before travelling to South Africa three years later.
Mr Stobbs, known by friends as Jules, became somewhat of a local celebrity as he used his Jazz farmhouse as a private members and social club since 1994.
He and his partner later became known as the “The Dagga Couple” after winning a five-year battle to make smoking cannabis legal in South Africa.
In 2013, he launched a campaign which became known as “The Trial of the Plant”, to decriminalise the smoking, growing and possession of cannabis for personal use.
In 2018, he won the long-running court dispute to help change the law.
South African cannabis activist and businessman Tony Budden described his passing as “desperately sad”.
He said: “This really is a tragedy for the cannabis culture in South Africa and is desperately sad.
“Jules worked tirelessly to bring awareness about the plant and its potential to the fore in order to create an open industry that benefitted all South Africans.”
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Fellow activist Gareth Prince said: “The murder of Julian is a huge loss to us all and I understand Myrtle is distraught and wants time alone to mourn his death.
“He will be remembered by so many people and is now a legend.”
A statement on the couple’s Facebook page titled The Dagga Couple said: “During the early hours of Friday, 3 July, 2020, an armed robbery took place at the property of Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke – best known as The Dagga Couple.
“The attackers entered the couple’s bedroom and shot and fatally wounded Jules Stobbs. Myrtle was physically left unharmed and the attackers made off with two cell phones and two laptops.
“The Cannabis community is mourning the passing of our hero. The family is requesting that the public respect their privacy and allow Myrtle some space during this difficult time.
“Thank you for the outpouring of love we have already received.”