Teacher attacked in front of kids
Arisja Jacobs, Beeld
Secunda - A nursery school teacher has told how she was choked and robbed in front of three of her young pupils at school on Monday.
Karen Pullen, 31, a teacher at Vinkies nursery school at the Secunda Primary School, was attacked in the bathroom in front of three little boys, aged between two and three.
"I went back quickly to the classroom to fetch the Wet Wipes when a neatly-dressed young man greeted me in proper Afrikaans.
"The nursery school principal was in the vicinity and I thought the man was with her.
Grabbed from behind
"I had just entered the bathroom again when the man grabbed me around the neck from behind," told Pullen.
He demanded her husband's cellphone, which she had with her, but even after she gave it to him he would not let go of her neck.
"I kept pleading with him to please leave the children alone."
The slightly-built Pullen said the man ordered her to turn her back to him while he forced her to go deeper inside the bathroom, with his arms still around her neck.
"The whole time I kept thinking what he was going to do to the children and also what he wanted to do to me in front of the children."
These thoughts spurred her to fight back. "I believe it was the Lord who helped me because I used all my strength and punched the man with my elbow in his left side."
The attacker was caught off guard and lost his grip on Pullen, who fell hard onto the ground.
He ran off and climbed over the school fence.
Other people heard Pullen crying for help and saw how the man changed his jacket in the field next to the school, put on a cap and ran off. A high school girl had been raped in that field last month while on her way to school.
The robber presumably got in through a gate believed to have been left open by teachers at the primary school.
Pullen was still traumatised on Tuesday and spoke in a soft voice.
"I am broken. I can't sleep and I don't want to be alone. I am still struggling to cope with a previous attack and now this happens."
Barely two weeks ago, she was robbed at the ATM across the road from the Secunda police station. Two youths attacked her, beating her with their fists and robbing her of her money and bank card.