He’s Knott your average hero

2009-03-16 00:00

Vince Knott (67), who tried to intervene to help a woman being attacked in the Umkomaas Valley on Friday afternoon, has been hailed as a hero by readers on the Witness website.

“I don’t see myself as a hero. If that were my wife or daughter, I would hope that someone would do the same for them,” said Knott.

Knott saw a local school teacher struggling with three men at the roadside.

The teacher had stopped to give the men a lift into Richmond after they flagged her down.

A short while into their journey, one of the men pulled out a firearm, forcing her to stop her newly acquired Toyota sedan.

They shoved her into the back seat of the vehicle and beat her.

“As I came driving past, I saw a cloud of smoke around the vehicle. I first thought that the men were fighting among themselves, but when I looked closer, I saw the woman,” Knott said yesterday.

“I tried to stop them, but they fired a shot at me. It missed me and I thought it was best that I get away from there and get help. I tried to pull the woman away from her car but she wouldn’t come,” said Knott.

While Knott drove to get a cellphone signal and call the police, the woman was forcibly taken to the top of a mountain in the district, where one of the men raped her and tied her up.

Knott’s quick reaction enabled the police to get to the scene quickly and arrest three men.

Also involved in Friday’s drama was Dave Edwards, manager of the Highover Gate wildlife sanctuary. Edwards described Friday afternoon as a “wild, wild west movie”.

“I was out with the police to try and track down another suspect who stole about R6 000 worth of goods from people staying in our chalets, and then I heard about the hijacking.

“I know [the woman] well. She is very bubbly and friendly and well-known in the area.

“My wife visited (her) and said that she is recovering well, but is petrified to return to the area,” he said.

After Knott’s intervention, Richmond police found one of the suspects trying to change a flat tyre on the stolen car.

They also recovered a firearm and arrested him.

The suspect took the police to the top of a mountain, where they found the woman, bleeding from the right shoulder.

The woman was rushed to Medi-Clinic hospital from where she is likely to be released today.

“I recovered as soon as I drove away, but I worry about the woman and her recovery,” said Knott.

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