UK woman in India jumps to escape 'rape'

2013-03-24 17:08
The Asian elephant Taj celebrates a birthday. (AP)

The Asian elephant Taj celebrates a birthday. (AP)

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London - A British woman who jumped from a hotel balcony in India fearing a sexual assault said on Sunday she shouted for help for more than an hour before she fled.

Jessica Davies, 31, from London, said she had barricaded the door of her hotel room in Agra with furniture to stop two men from entering.

"I held my key in the lock and I could feel them turning it from the other side," she told the BBC.

Davies, a dental hygienist, injured both legs in the jump but said her ordeal could have been a lot worse.

The manager of the hotel and another member of staff appeared in court on Wednesday accused of harassing Davies, with their lawyer saying they denied the charges.

Davies said she wanted to talk about her experience "because the shame of sexual assault makes many people too scared to speak out".

She also said it was "disgusting" that her fellow hotel residents had failed to help.

The incident came just days after a Swiss cyclist was allegedly gang-raped in the central state of Madhya Pradesh by a group of villagers, while on a cycling trip with her husband that was meant to include a stopover in Agra.

Davies, who is now back in Britain, told the BBC her ordeal began when she was "surprised" by a knock at her door at 03:45.

Barricaded

She denied claims by the hotel manager's lawyer that she had asked for a wake-up call, saying she had set her phone alarm for 04.30 to catch a taxi for a train to Jaipur.

She said she was still wearing pyjamas when she opened the door to find the hotel manager asking if she wanted to take a shower and offering a massage. "He was showing me this oil he had," she said.

When he refused to go away, she barricaded herself inside her room. For the next hour and a quarter "I was kicking the door and screaming hoping someone would help", she said.

"By hook or by crook this person - or persons - were going to get into my room. I'm 100% certain. And there was only one way out, to jump two floors."

Davies said that when she hit the ground she heard a shout but "I didn't look back and just ran", hardly noticing her injuries as adrenaline took over.

She said a passing rickshaw driver took her to a police station where he stayed with her for hours and acted as translator.

"He was amazing," she said, but added: "I don't know his name and I don't know how to thank him."

Police great

She also praised the police in Agra.

Davies insisted she had been "exercising a lot of caution and wearing appropriate clothes" after hearing about recent cases.

She said she had not been put off from returning to India, but was "never going to travel alone again".

Prakash Narayan Sharma, lawyer for the hotel manager Sachin Chauhan, told AFP his client was being framed and claimed Davies had invented the story.

He also claimed it was a conspiracy concocted by tourism authorities in New Delhi to tarnish the image of Agra, which is home to the Taj Mahal, a major tourist attraction.

Read more on:    india  |  india bus rape

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