Jogger raped in suburb

2013-11-12 00:00

A PROMINENT Pietermaritzburg doctor had to crawl to seek help early yesterday morning after being dragged into the bush and raped in upmarket Clarendon.

The doctor was found slumped against a gate on Villiers Drive, whimpering for help, witnesses said.

She had been out jogging and had stopped to tie her shoelace, when she was grabbed by her neck and dragged into the nearby bushes.

After her terrifying ordeal, the doctor managed to crawl up the bank, where she was found by a fellow jogger.

The incident occurred at about 5.50 am, when Villiers Drive is busy with joggers who seek the picturesque sunrise views the road offers over the city.

Describing how he found her, Clarendon resident Clive Henderson, who was out walking his dogs, said it was the “worst thing I have ever seen in my life”.

“It was a huge shock to me when I took the turn on the road and saw her in that condition — so distraught, distressed and absolutely helpless.

“She was kind of lying on the ground and against the gate, unable to stand up, whimpering, crying ‘Help me, somebody please help me’.

“It took me a few seconds to comprehend what was going on and then I quickly roused some of the residents, who were sleeping.

“I managed to establish what had happened to the young lady and one of the residents called for the police,” said a traumatised Henderson.

He praised the police for their swift arrival at the scene and the care they exercised in handling the case.

He said information gathered from the doctor was that the suspect was a medium-built black male who had been wearing a blue T-shirt and denim jeans.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said no arrests had been made.

He said the doctor was yesterday receiving counselling.

As news of the rape spread in the suburb, near to some of the city’s top schools, residents were quick to organise a meeting to discuss the way forward.

Resident Margie Henderson said the area had a proactive security forum that wanted to take back the streets so “we can lead normal lives”.

“I know rapes happen every day all over the country. But today, this has touched our lives and we need to do something to start making that difference.

“We need to get together as concerned citizens to reclaim our streets, to be able to go about our lives, bearing in mind we have all this crime around us.

“We can’t keep living with our heads in the sand,” said Henderson.

She said after the incident, they warned domestic workers who walked on the street.

“They were mortified about the incident. They are normally too scared to walk on the road after 5 pm and come in too early, here and in the townships, because of this very threat.”

Rob Evans, chairperson of the Lower Clarendon Community Association, said he was devastated to hear of the rape.

“As a community we want to be able to travel and exercise on our streets in safety and so condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this violation.

“We will be taking steps to see what action must be taken. We appeal to all residents to get involved in efforts to make our neighbourhood and city safe,” said Evans.

Townhill Community Policing Forum chairperson Edmund Szudrawski said the incident was shocking, but he committed to an arrest.

“This is totally unacceptable in any society. We will make sure that the perpetrator is tracked down,” said Szudrawski.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Bongani Madondo, at 033 387 9500 or 079 951 0623.

How you can protect yourself

SELF-DEFENCE expert Dave Allen said woman joggers should consider carrying a pepper spray with them. “You get a fogger or a direct spray. The direct spray is better suited for jogging as it aims a direct stream of about two to three metres at the assailant. They are also good for warding off dogs,” said Allen.

He said any whistle or portable alarm would also be useful in the event of an attack to raise the alarm.

“Use anything that makes a big noise; If you haven’t got anything, scream your lungs out,” said Allen.

*The meeting to discuss safety for joggers will be held at 6.30pm on Wednesday evening at Aqua Body Works, 131a Villiers Drive.

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