Woman’s toilet bowl ordeal

2013-10-10 00:00

A 72-YEAR-OLD Pietermaritzburg woman yesterday had to fight for her life as a robber forced her head down a toilet in an attempt to drown her.

According to the police, the woman was doing her laundry at her Kinnoull Road home in Pelham when a man confronted her yesterday morning. He placed a knife to her neck and demanded money. When she replied that she had no money, the man tied her hands.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the man stuffed a towel into her mouth and forced her into the bathroom, where he pushed her head into the toilet bowl and attempted to drown her. However, the woman resisted and the man then beat her up and left her in the bathroom while he ransacked the house, said Zwane.

The woman seized the opportunity and ran out of the house, screaming for help. Neighbours who heard the commotion immediately contacted the police and investigated.

Zwane said the dog unit quickly arrived at the scene and spotted the robber running from the house. The man jumped over a concrete wall and into some bushes, closely followed by the officers and their dog, and was soon brought down.

The man sustained bruises to his face, neck and right arm, and was treated for dog bites at the scene. He was then taken to a hospital in the city, where he is under police guard, for further treatment, said Zwane.

Various items were recovered from the man, including clothing, computer equipment and a Nokia cellphone. The 26-year-old man is expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court shortly.

The incident was the latest in a string of recent attacks on senior citizens in the province.

In July, The Witness reported an attack on a frail 84-year-old woman who was throttled in her Scottsville home on a Sunday, only to be attacked and robbed again the same week. In the second attack she was beaten and tied up by a gang of men, who also turned on her neighbour who interrupted the robbery. The men escaped with their loot, but were later arrested by members of the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit.

In August, The Witness reported on a horror attack on two Margate sisters. Retired SA Revenue Service auditor Janetta Lorraine van der Walt (60) was throttled, stabbed and raped by a man who dragged her out of her sister Koekie Stander’s grasp. Van der Walt had gone outside to check why her dogs were barking when she was grabbed by the intruder.

The Witness also reported about four men who were arrested in Camperdown on Tuesday for the armed robbery of an elderly couple at the weekend. The husband found his screaming wife trying to prevent a group of men from entering their house. The men overpowered her and entered the home. One of them produced a knife and instructed the couple to lie on the floor. A struggle ensued during which one of the men stabbed the husband three times in the upper body. The accused are expected to appear in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court shortly.

Pietermaritzburg and District Council for the Care of the Aged (Padca) chairperson Peter Miller said elderly people living alone had become soft targets for criminals.

“These are the evils of our society. Padca makes sure that those in our care in our homes and our villages are safe. We have instituted measures like security patrols.”

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