Raped and bound woman saved

2009-03-13 00:00

After being assaulted, shot and almost saved — but then kidnapped and raped — a woman was eventually found tied up on top of a hill in the Umkomaas Valley yesterday.

The 37-year-old teacher was travelling to Richmond from a school she teaches at, in the Hela Hela district, when three men stopped her.

The woman agreed to take them to Richmond, but soon after getting in her car, one man produced a firearm and forced her to stop.

The suspects tried to shove her into the back seat of her car and repeatedly hit her with the firearm.

“I was driving up from the Umkomaas Valley when I noticed two men and a woman. She was in the back of her car, screaming, while they hit her,” said Vince Knott (67).

Knott jumped out of his car to try and help the woman. By then, the attackers had shot her in the shoulder and escaped into nearby bush.

“I thought it was all over, but almost as quickly as they disappeared, one man reappeared and fired a shot at me,” said Knott.

The bullet missed him and lodged itself in his car. Knott jumped into the vehicle and sped off to get help.

“I had to drive for quite some time to get a signal on my cellphone. I was so nervous I almost couldn’t dial for the police,” said Knott.

He called the Richmond police, who responded “quicker than it took me to call them”.

He also tried to get some men in the area to drive back to the crime scene with him.

“If that were my wife or daughter, I would also hope that someone would try to help me.

“By the time I got there, the police had arrived, but the woman, the car and the suspects had already gone. All that was left were skid marks on the road,” said Knott.

Superintendent Jody Riley, who assisted in the investigation, found the woman’s cellphone in the bush and went through it to find someone who could identify her.

“I called the number of a policeman whose name I recognised on the phone. He confirmed that [she] was a school teacher at a nearby school,” said Riley.

A man was arrested when police found him changing a tyre on a car that matched the description of the vehicle the police were looking for.

“We also found a firearm on the man,” said Riley.

After they questioned the man for some time, he agreed to show them where the woman was.

“She was tied up and bleeding from the right shoulder where the suspect shot her. She also told us that she had been raped by the same man who shot her,” said Riley.

The woman was rushed to hospital where she is recovering.

The two other suspects, who tried to make off with the woman’s credit cards, were arrested later yesterday afternoon.

The suspects are expected to appear in court on Monday.

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