Dutch Airbnb host facing attempted murder charge over assault on SA artist

2017-07-11 15:20
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Cape Town – A Dutch Airbnb host, accused of pushing South African visual artist Sibahle Steve Nkumbi down a staircase, could face prosecution for attempted murder.

Nkumbi was in Amsterdam to write about a friend’s art exhibition. The attack came after she and her friends were late in checking out of the accommodation on Saturday.

She suffered a concussion, bump to the head and various bruises.

- Read: WATCH: 'Late check-out' SA traveller shoved down stairs by Airbnb host in Amsterdam

Amsterdam police told News24 that four women had rented an apartment west of the city centre, and were supposed to leave around 11:00.

"Around 12:30, the women got in an argument with the person who rented them the apartment about the time they had to check out," said police spokesperson Marijke Stor.

She said Nkumbi's statement was taken after she was released from hospital.

They arrested a 47-year-old man.

The Netherlands’ public prosecution service, Openbaar Ministerie, confirmed to News24 on Tuesday that they were sitting with the case docket.

Spokesperson Evert Boerstra said the man was suspected of "poging doodslag", or attempted manslaughter, which was the equivalent of attempted murder in South Africa.

The prosecutor was soon expected to make a decision on whether to pursue the case in court.

The host was released from police custody on Sunday.

"The fact that the man has a permanent residence has played a role in that decision," Boerstra explained.

'You need to leave now, this is not Africa'

In a video interview posted to YouTube on Monday, which has since gone viral, Nkumbi said she had apologised profusely at the time for staying an hour over the check-out time.

After they spoke with the host's wife, the host apparently arrived at the property, banging on the door and shouting for them to open up.

Nkumbi said the man was verbally abusive and that the attack was racially motivated.

While officials referred to an argument, she believed there was no provocation as she was trying to reason with him and calm him down.

He allegedly referred to their group as "you people" and said: "You need to leave now, this is not Africa".

"When I got close, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to grab me. And the way he grabbed me, I knew he was going to throw me down there," she said.

"I lost grip of the wall and that is when I flew down."

She said she passed out and woke up in hospital.

Police had questioned her while she was there, but she said she was still dazed.

She later checked out of hospital. 

Nkumbi had not yet responded to a request for an interview.

'Appalling'

In response to the incident, David King, Airbnb's Director of Diversity & Belonging said, "Appalling and unconscionable behaviour against members of our community runs counter to everything Airbnb stands for.

"Our CEO Brian Chesky and I are reaching out to the affected guests. We will take the strongest actions we can against such abhorrent conduct, including banning people for life from our platform and assisting law enforcement with their investigation and potential prosecution. Nobody should ever be treated like this and it will not be tolerated."

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