Ex-paratrooper husband saved life of mother shot in Brazil favela 'by driving off on four shot-out flat tyres'

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The family of a London mother-of-three shot by gangsters in Brazil after accidentally driving into a slum today told how her ex-paratrooper husband saved her life.

Teaching assistant Eloise Dixon, 46, narrowly avoided being killed in front of her three daughters after a language mix-up saw them drive straight into a favela ruled by Brazil’s second most important criminal organisation in Rio de Janeiro.

She was hit in the stomach when the gang fired at their vehicle after they took a wrong turn after a language mix-up, having asked for directions to a place where they could buy water.

A second bullet, apparently aimed at her head, slammed into the headrest.

Her mother-in-law told how she was saved when her former paratrooper husband Maxwell Dixon sped to the nearest police station – despite gunmen blasting all four tyres.

Eloise Dixon was shot in the passenger seat while her husband was driving with their three children on the back seat

Hazel Dixon, 76, said her son, who is now a firefighter for the London Fire Brigade, sped back to the highway and reached a police checkpoint.

She told the Daily Mail: “Maxwell is a very good driver and an ex-paratrooper.

“He’s very, very good in an emergency. The gunman shot out the tyres, but apparently he drove the car as fast as he could with four flat tyres to a safe area and to the nearest police station…It could have been so much worse.”

She added: “Obviously I sing his praises but I think he would have been really gutsy. He’s useful when it comes to the crunch because he’s as calm as can be.”

Eloise Dixon was hit in the stomach and underwent emergency surgery

Mr Dixon served five years in the Territorial Army before he became a fireman in Bromley, south-east London, in 1998. 

The couple, from Hayes, flew to Brazil last Monday and were staying at the resort of Angra dos Reis, near Rio, with their daughters Isabella, 13, Holly, eight, and Alice, seven.

The family were attacked after failing to understand orders to leave the favela called Agua Santa – Holy Water in Portuguese – police said.

His mother, who lives in Woldingham, Surrey, added: “It could have been absolutely horrendous, but she’s going to be OK. The bullet must have come through the car door and lost some of its velocity.”

Mrs Dixon was today in hospital having undergone emergency surgery. She was said to be in a “stable” condition, with doctors saying she was “very lucky” to have survived.

She is expected to be transferred to a private hospital in Rio within 72 hours, officials said.

The two men who attacked the family were on the run last night.

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