The Rambo Granny of Melbourne
By David Emery
Netlore Archive: Tabloid tale of 81-year-old 'gun-toting granny' Ava Estelle of Melbourne, Australia, who took revenge on two men who raped her granddaughter by shooting their testicles off.
Description: Tabloid tale / Urban legend
Circulating since: Feb. 2000
Status: False (see details below)
Email text contributed by L. Palmer, Feb. 9, 2000:
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Gun-toting granny Ava Estelle, 81, was so ticked-off when two thugs raped her 18-year-old granddaughter that she tracked the unsuspecting ex-cons down - - and shot their testicles off!
"The old lady spent a week hunting those bums down-and when she found them, she took revenge on them in her own special way," said admiring Melbourne police investigator Evan Delp.
"Then she took a taxi to the nearest police station, laid the gun on the sergeant's desk and told him as calm as could be: 'Those bastards will never rape anybody again, by God.'
Cops say convicted rapist and robber Davis Furth, 33, lost both his penis and his testicles when outraged Ava opened fire with a 9-mm pistol in the seedy hotel room where he and former prison cellmate Stanley Thomas, 29, were holed up.
The wrinkled avenger also blew Thomas' testicles to kingdom come, but doctors managed to save his mangled penis, police said.
"The one guy, Thomas, didn't lose his manhood, but the doctor I talked to said he won't be using it the way he used to," Detective Delp told reporters. "Both men are still in pretty bad shape, but I think they're just happy to be alive after what they've been through."
The Rambo Granny swung into action August 21 after her granddaughter Debbie was carjacked and raped by two knife-wielding creeps in a section of town bordering on skid row.
"When I saw the look on my Debbie's face that night in the hospital, I decided I was going to go out and get those bastards myself 'cause I figured the police would go easy on them," recalled the retired library worker. "And I wasn't scared of them, either-because I've got me a gun and I've been shootin' it all my life."
So, using a police artist's sketch of the suspects and Debbie's description of the sickos' car, tough-as-nails Ava spent seven days prowling the wino-infested neighborhood where the crime took place till she spotted the ill-fated rapists entering their flophouse hotel. "I knew it was them the minute I saw 'em, but I shot a picture of 'em anyway and took it back to Debbie and she said sure as hell, it was them," the ornery oldster recalled.
"So I went back to that hotel and found their room and knocked on the door -- and the minute the big one, Furth, opened the door, I shot 'em got right square between the legs, right where it would really hurt 'em most, you know. Then I went down to the police station and turned myself in."
Now, baffled lawmen are tying to figure out how to deal with the vigilante granny. "What she did was wrong, but you can't really throw an 81-year-old woman in prison." Det. Delp said, "especially when all 3 million people in the city want to nominate her for sainthood."
Analysis: Marvelous story without a shred of truth. The tale of "gun-toting granny" Ava Estelle of Melbourne, Australia began circulating via email in 2000, a couple of years after it was first published in the Weekly World News, an American tabloid newspaper famous for its entertaining though factually-challenged content.
An early Usenet posting of the story dated February 7, 2000 contained a link (now defunct) to a reprint of the original text on the WWN website. The original title of the piece, which Aussie readers were quick to recognize as fake because it's heavily laden with American slang, was "Granbo."
As I write this in 2007, the Ava Estelle story is still being passed around as factual, though long since debunked as an Internet urban legend.
A latter-day variant sports the tagline, "Deport her to America we need her!"
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Sources and further reading:
'Granbo' - Gun-Toting Granny Shoots 2 Rapists' Testicles Off
Weekly World News, 20 October 1998
Last updated: 09/24/13