Court staff 3, muggers nil

2013-11-16 00:00

THREE Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court staffers showed their mettle by fighting off robbers who targeted them in separate incidents near the courthouse recently.

One — a female prosecutor — turned the tables on an assailant who tried to stab her in the neck by plunging his own knife into his stomach.

In the process the prosecutor, who asked not to be named for security reasons, suffered a four- to five-centimetre cut on her collarbone.

“I wasn’t really frightened at that point. It was all about survival,” she told Weekend Witness.

She says her karate training helped her fend off her attacker, who struck as she walked to her car opposite the high court in Church Street at 4.20 pm last Thursday.

“I crossed the street and as I got to the pavement this guy stopped in my way. He reached out towards me and I saw the knife … I saw the silver flash of the blade … He went straight for my neck,” she said.

“I reacted instinctively. Karate is all about reaction and my training kicked in.”

The woman grabbed at the knife handle and caught the attacker’s hand, deflecting the blade, which scraped her collarbone.

“There was a struggle and somehow I managed to turn his hand around and the knife went into his stomach,” she said.

“As he tried to stab me, he also grabbed the chain on my neck with his other hand and my pendant fell. He bent down, with the knife still in him, picked up the pendant and ran off,” she said.

She didn’t know how badly injured he was. She added that despite the street being crowded, no one came to help her.

In two other incidents in the past 10 days, court clerks Dean Greeves and Reynard Royappen also successfully beat off muggers who accosted them in the same vicinity.

Greeves said he was walking down Church street near Symons Centre when a man approaching him grabbed at his belt.

“They do that to distract you while they search your pockets,” he said. “I hit him hard in the chest and he ran off.”

Greeves said he has some training in boxing and karate.

Royappen — who described himself as a “small guy and weak” — said he’d surprised himself by managing to push away two muggers who tried to rifle his pockets for his wallet near the Church Street taxi rank last Tuesday.

In the process they ripped the pocket of his pants, but he refused to give up his wallet and they left empty-handed.

Royappen said one of the attackers initially greeted him and when he failed to respond the man started “nudging him” and insisting he reply.

“Another guy came from the front and they pushed me up against the wall and tried to reach into my pocket. I refused to let go of my wallet even when the one guy threatened to stab me.”

He didn’t know if the men were armed, he said.

“I thought it was pointless going to the police because what are they going to do?” he said.

Royappen and Greeves said they’d heard of two other muggings in the vicinity of the magistrate’s court in the past few weeks, including an incident where a pregnant woman was held up at knifepoint and an elderly man was robbed of his cellphone.

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