‘If you keep fighting, we’ll kill you’ — man’s hijack ordeal

2011-07-12 00:00

AFTER waking up on the side of the road near Thornville having been beaten unconscious with a brick, Basil Bowen is still trying to piece together the events of his horrific hijacking on Saturday night.

“I thought I was going to be killed,” Bowen (65) said.

He was driving home in his green Mazda 323 after watching bowls at the Wanderers Club on Saturday evening around 5.30 pm.

On Ritchie Road in Pelham he passed through a green traffic light. Suddenly a man in his “mid-20s or early-30s” jumped in front of the car. Bowen slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting him.

The man grabbed the steering wheel, and unlocked the back door.

A second man entered the car and began strangling Bowen, but his jacket “had a thick collar” which protected his neck.

“They said if I carry on fighting, ‘we will kill you’.”

It happened very quickly, Bowen said. He is uncertain whether there were three or four assailants. At some stage during the hijacking one of the men hit him on the back of his head and again above the eye, but he had already passed out after the first blow.

“I thought I was a goner,” he said.

He awoke sometime later, but did not know where he was, and the darkness made it difficult for him to see.

His car and his tools, cellphone, wallet and a Swiss army knife were stolen. Even his shoes were taken and he “was walking around with socks on” towards the lights he saw in the distance.

“I almost got hit by a passing car,” he recounted with a chuckle.

Soon afterwards a police van drove past Bowen on Richmond Road, said police provincial spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane.

The police took him to Alexandra Road police station and then to Northdale Hospital, where he received stitches in his head. His arms and hands were bruised from resisting the attack and his right eye was an angry bubble of blood and bruises.

“I don’t ever want to go through that again,” the grandfather of three said. “I am bloody sore and keep coughing.”

He asked why this happened to him when he “has never looked for trouble with anyone”.

While The Witness spoke to Bowen he received a telephone call saying that the police had found his vehicle in Imbali on Sunday morning, but it had been set alight and burnt.

Bowen said he learnt from this experience to “get home early” and never to stop. Perhaps he will also heed his wife’s advice to keep his windows up.

Zwane said anyone with information about the incident should call Lieutenant-Colonel Lulu Ndlovu at 033 845 7700 or anonymously at Crime Stop’s 08600 10111.

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