Shock assault on woman

2010-02-23 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG woman yesterday told of her shock as she and her boyfriend were attacked by an apparently mentally ill man at the corner of Victoria and Roberts roads.

“It was so random and unprovoked. I thought I had maybe seen wrong. I started moving across the road hurriedly and he just lifted the stick above his head and lunged into my ribs,” related the shocked Chantelle Horisberger.

Horisberger was walking to work with her boyfriend, Clinton Osbourne.

She said they were waiting to cross the road at the traffic lights when the man, estimated to be in his 30s, suddenly kicked Osbourne.

Osbourne elbowed the man out of the way and started running across the road.

“We assumed that the man was also waiting to cross the road. As Clinton ran across the man attacked me with a stick. I managed to avoid most of the blow by moving my arm into the way. I came out with just a graze running from my upper arm across my elbow and down to my forearm, and some bruised ribs,” said Horisberger.

When her boyfriend saw the man attack her, he ran back across the road, knocked the man off his feet, held him to the ground and called to a passer-by to take the stick away from him. Horisberger said yesterday she would lay an assault charge.

In August last year, Nompumelelo Ndlovu (21) was beaten to death by an allegedly mentally disturbed man in Boom Street. The man hit her with a metal bar, killing her on the spot.

Bystanders said that when the police tried to stop him at gunpoint, he continued to beat her.

Police were forced to shoot at him to restrain him.

Later in the same month three people were attacked in Retief Street.

It was reported that a man stabbed a 55-year-old woman before running away.

Shortly afterwards, the same man hit a passer-by with a brick and later slapped another man.

Health Department spokesman Chris Maxon advised the public to call the police if they encounter apparently disturbed people.

He said that in terms of the Mental Health Care Act such people need to be assessed in a hospital for up to 72 hours. Only after the assessment can they be admitted to a mental hospital, if necessary.

Police spokeswoman Director Phindile Radebe said, “When confronted by a mentally ill patient, the common knowledge would be to avoid them.

“If you are attacked, you can open a case with the police. The police will either take the mentally ill person to an institution or get them checked at a hospital …”

She hung up the phone when asked what the police do to stop such people from roaming the roads.


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