Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Violent start to 'new life'

30/01/2008 09:49 - (SA)

Carla Mouton, Beeld

Lydenburg - Barely four months after she found her murdered fiance's body, a young woman was assaulted and raped in her flat in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga.

Mariska Louw, 22, said a man waited for her inside her flat in Lydenburg when she returned from a party on Friday evening.

Louw gave permission for her name to be published, but didn't want a photograph published for fear of being recognised in public.

She moved from Centurion to Lydenburg in an attempt to make a new start after the trauma she had experienced last year.

Police 'could've helped her'

Louw's car was hijacked in September last year. Ten days later her fiance, Werner van Jaarsveldt, saw people driving the car. He phoned the police and pursued the car, but was apparently shot dead by the hijackers. Louw found his body in Midrand. They would have married in November.

About the rape she said: "I went home at about 00:20. The front door was locked when I arrived. I locked it again and took an ashtray upstairs (the first floor of the duplex). When I opened the bathroom door, a naked man stood there. He grabbed me by the throat."

Louw, who has several scrapes, bruises and bitemarks to her body, said she hit the man over the head with the ashtray. During a struggle the man dragged her by the hair to the bathroom and broke her perfume bottle against the side of the bath.

"He said: 'Shut up or I will kill you.' He tore clothes he had thrown from the laundry basket and tied up my mouth, legs and hands.'

After he had raped her on her bed, he wrapped her head with the torn clothes and tied her to a pipe.

"I heard him locking my bedroom door. I couldn't breathe."

Louw said she managed to untie herself and screamed for help from the window. She saw the man get out of her Toyota Yaris and run away. She didn't scream again as she was afraid he would return. The man took her cellphone.

She waited inside her bedroom until later on Saturday morning. She then borrowed a cellphone from workers at the premises to phone her parents and a friend with a spare key to her flat.

Pieter Louw, her father, said what bothered him most was that police didn't turn up after neighbours had phoned them during the incident on Friday evening. The neighbours heard her daughter's screams.

"The neighbours later went to the police station to fetch them. The police shone a torch on the flat and walked around it before leaving again. The rapist was still inside the flat at the time."

"My child could have been dead and the police could have saved her," he said. His daughter was receiving antiretroviral treatment.


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