Thursday, 13 July 2006

Paralysed mom tells of stabbing

13/07/2006 07:18 - (SA)

Malani Venter, Die Burger

Cape Town - A woman from Pretoria has been paralysed from the chest down after a "well-dressed" man stabbed her in her back for no apparent reason at a residential complex in Sea Point.

Deirdré, 57, who for security reasons does not want her surname mentioned, described on Wednesday from her hospital bed how her life changed in the blink of an eye after the attack last Wednesday night.

A few minutes before the interview she spoke to her son in London.

"He is in tears," she said.

"And I can't even go to his wedding next month. I'm like a baby now and I have to learn to do everything all over again."

'Our voices must be heard'

She said she and a friend came to Cape Town on holiday. She was walking alone to their flat when a "'well-dressed" man walked past her, turned around suddenly and began speaking to her.

He said: "Do you see what I've got in my hand? See what I'm going to do with it," and stabbed her in the back twice with a large knife.

"Luckily I was wearing a thick coat and it prevented the man from stabbing an artery in my neck," she said.

She screamed for help for several minutes before her friend and security guards found her. She was immediately taken to a nearby hospital.

She said her doctor told her there is a one percent chance that she might walk again. Soon she will be taken to a rehabilitation centre where she will have to learn all over how to get dressed, sit upright and handle a wheelchair.

Deirdré's faith, family and friends are all that will help her through this trauma.

"I believe in God and I believe in miracles. "It's no good becoming negative now. I must be spiritually and mentally strong."

Asked whether she feels bitter toward her attacker and violence in South Africa, she said: "I leave the man's fate to the Lord. "I think the government is fast asleep about crime in the country. They have security guards who look after them all day long, but what about the ordinary man in the street?

"Yet it won't help to leave the country - nor do I want to - our voices must be heard."

Police spokesperson Captain Randall Stoffels said no one has been arrested yet but an identikit of the attacker is being compiled.

It seemed that the suspect stole nothing from the victim, he said.

A property management agent of the flat complex said the attack is regarded in a very serious light and they will hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss safety measures.


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