Mystery man at large after woman found naked in a pool of bloodFatal stabbing at escort agency

2011-07-04 00:00

A WOMAN was found dead with a stab wound to her heart and her ponytail cut and stuffed into her mouth at a popular escort agency in Pietermaritzburg on Friday evening.

The woman, who is only identified as Tessa (45), of Northdale, was found naked after she had apparently been attacked while bathing at Je’Taime Executive Men’s Club at the corner of Peter Kerchhoff (Chapel) and Pietermaritz streets.

Tessa had been working at the escort agency for the past two years.

Her body was found in a large pool of blood at about 6 pm next to a shower in a toilet cubicle.

The agency manager has given police video footage from its CCTV camera, which allegedly shows the murder suspect.

“Her ponytail was cut from her head and it was stuffed into her mouth, apparently to prevent her from screaming,” said a source who saw the body.

“The footage shows the man arriving at about 4 pm. He stayed at the bar drinking and playing pool. It also showed him dropping the chair he was sitting on and picking it up. At about 5 pm the deceased came in and kissed him before they both went to a room upstairs.”

The source said the man was wearing a jacket when they went upstairs, but not when he came down at about 5.30 pm. “He had apparently put it in a small bag he had been carrying. When he came back from upstairs he just walked straight out,” the source said.

The owner of Je’Taime, Andre Viviers, said they handed the footage to the police to help trace the suspect, who is still at large.

Viviers said he was in his office conducting an interview for a new bar tender when the body was discovered.

“While my daughter and I were busy conducting the interview one of our ladies came here to tell us that someone had left the shower running upstairs.

“My daughter went up. She found a door to the toilet and shower closed. When she opened it she saw blood coming underneath the closed door of the toilet cubicle, and when she opened the door she saw this woman lying on the floor with her head behind the toilet seat.”

Viviers said his daughter screamed in shock and he ran upstairs to investigate.

He said he first assumed that the deceased might have slipped and fallen on ceramic tiles and hit her head on the toilet seat.

“I immediately phoned ER24 and police. Paramedics told us that she was dead and that she had been stabbed once to her heart.

“There was lots of blood in the toilet area. It was like a slaughter house. There were also drops of blood on the stairway and through the bar,” said Viviers. It appears that the blood may have been spread there by the suspect.

“It is also believed that the man may have removed his jacket because it had blood on it.”

Viviers said that they have employed a second security guard since the incident.

He said Tessa’s daughter and son-in-law came to the escort agency to look for her yesterday because she was not answering her phone.

“They were shocked to hear about the incident. We are also shocked and our girls are also shocked,” said Viviers.

Another source said Tessa had been receiving written death threats from people to whom she allegedly owed money. These threats were from number of people she owed money to. She has also been owing rent of about R2 000 for living here.”

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said he was not in a position to discuss the murder.

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