‘I feared he would kill or rape me’

2019-08-06 15:24
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Running won't damage your knees.

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“He was on top of her, he had her pinned down. As I was running past he looked straight at me, stopped what he was doing and got up. It was at that moment the woman being attacked was able to get up and run.”

This is according to 72-year-old Miriam, a regular jogger at the Protea Grounds for over 20 years who helped stop an attack on a fellow jogger there two weeks ago.

She asked The Witness to withhold her surname from the article for security reasons.

Miriam said she runs every day, and had finished her run on that Saturday morning (July 27) when she saw the female jogger parking her car at the grounds.

“I always go in a group with a few men, and I had finished up but when I saw her car pulling into the grounds, I thought I had better go back down and run a few more laps with her,” she said.

“She was behind me and as I was on my third lap, I heard screaming but thought it was coming from one of the houses on the other side of the field.

“As I turned the bend, I realised it was her who was screaming. This man was on top of her with a knife in his hand. He jumped off her and was looking straight at me.

“At that very moment I thought he was either going to kill me or rape me as well. I could not fight him off. All I could think to do was start running to get help.

“When I looked behind me, I saw the woman had managed to get away from the man and was also running.”

Miriam said the man chased after both her and the other jogger until they got to Khan Road, where they flagged down help.

She said she had called to the woman to follow her home and then call the police, but she had accepted a lift instead from a passing motorist.

“I cannot run past that spot where he [the assailant] had her pinned down without getting flashbacks.

“I do not even want to think what could have happened to the woman if I had not decided to run more laps that day,” said Miriam.

The jogger, who described the attack when interviewed by Weekend Witness last week, has asked to remain anonymous as she is traumatised and afraid for her life.

The woman said she normally jogs with her sister, but on the day of the incident her sister had cancelled.

The woman decided to go on her own.

She had parked her car and waited until she saw another woman jogging on the field.

On her second lap, a man with a cut across his nose, wearing a blue hoodie and holding a knife, came out of the bushes.

He assaulted her and tried to drag her into the bushes before Miriam ran past them.

Both women have described the attacker in their separate interviews as being well-dressed, clean and “definitely not homeless”.

They said the man was quite short but had a big physique and spoke fluent English.

Miriam advised people to run in groups, and suggested that female joggers should try to run in a group that includes a man as well.

She said she has spoken to the security at the grounds and would be talking to them about increasing safety measures.

She added that she had called police to report the incident the same day at 3 pm, but was told she was “too late” and should have called earlier. The incident happened at 6 am.

Mountain Rise station commander Brigadier Boxer Pillay said he would look into the matter, and said there was no time limit on opening a case.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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