How student escaped Rhodes Memorial attacker

Cape Town - The latest victim of the alleged Rhodes Memorial rapist managed to escape when petrol attendants came to her rescue and locked her in a staff room.

Netwerk24 reported on Monday that the 28-year-old University of Cape Town student was running along a footpath next to the M3 at about 20:00 last Tuesday evening when she was attacked.

She told her rescuers that she was hit on the back by some sort of log.

When she regained consciousness, she was in the bushes behind Rhodes Memorial. She was then taken to the Blockhouse behind the memorial, and was blindfolded, assaulted and repeatedly raped for more than 24 hours.

The Master's student finally managed to get help when her attacker took her to a petrol station next to the M3 on Wednesday night and forced her to withdraw cash from her bank account. She withdrew R200 and gave it to him, and he went inside the shop to buy a Steri Stumpie and cigarettes.

A petrol attendant on duty at the time told Netwerk24 that the woman then called for help. They could see the left side of her face was badly swollen and she could not see out of her left eye. She was still in her jogging gear.

A female attendant locked the woman in the dressing room and informed her colleagues that the man had raped and assaulted the student.

They immediately called the police and their security company.

The police arrived minutes later, but by this stage the alleged rapist had already made tracks.

They took statements from the woman and attendants at the filling station, and also took CCTV footage, in which the suspect was apparently clearly visible.

The student was taken to a nearby hospital.

The attendant told Netwerk24 that the man at the petrol station was the same one as in the photographs released by the police last week.

Western Cape police say the incident is being investigated and no further details can be disclosed.

Meanwhile, the 35-year-old suspect is due to make his first court appearance on Monday.

He was arrested on Saturday at a hide-out on the slopes of Table Mountain on a charge relating to the rape of a 23-year-old woman in November, but police believe he could be linked to other attacks, including last week's incident.

UCT congratulated the police on the arrest, and said it would assist police in their investigation. The university had offered a R100 000 reward for information that would lead to an arrest.

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