Sunday, 18 October 2009

Couple’s nightmare attack ‘must serve as a warning’


Amy Shelver
Weekend Post Reporter

A PORT Elizabeth family is still reeling after an horrific attack in which their 21-year- old son and his 20- year-old girlfriend were beaten, robbed, bombarded by hate speech and abandoned on a deserted stretch of dune area off Marine Drive.

The traumatised couple was attacked after sunset last Friday while packing the young man’s vehicle after a picnic near Noordhoek.
Police are investigating if the young woman was raped.

The couple were forced into the boot of their car and driven to an isolated spot where they were terrorised for several hours.

Police are still investigating, but would not confirm a tip-off Weekend Post had received that an arrest or arrests was “imminent”.

Another man, who had stopped to watch some fishing boats, was also hijacked and tied up on the same night, allegedly by the same thugs.

The mother of the 21-year-old who was attacked said she decided to speak out about her son and his girlfriend’s “nightmare ordeal” to warn others of the “overwhelming danger” at some of Nelson Mandela Bay’s public spaces – and to clear up misleading media reports.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone, ever,” the tearful mother said yesterday.

“Our beautiful children’s lives have been changed in an instant and will never be the same again. As a family, we are devastated.”

She said the two were packing up at sunset when two men came “out of nowhere” and held them at gunpoint.

Two more men appeared to be waiting at the site they were later taken to.

The mother said the thugs made the couple throw out their picnic gear and shoved them into the boot of the hatchback.

They were then “taken off the beaten track” to a secluded spot down a gravel road off the main road, where they were tied up.

Two of the assailants left at one stage to draw R150 from the girl’s bank account – R150 was her daily limit.

A source close to the investigation, who asked not to be named, said the money was withdrawn from an ATM in Rink Street, Central.

“Most banks have CCTV surveillance and police are investigating to see if there is any evidence from this,” the source said.

When the two attackers returned, all four of the men bombarded the couple with hate speech, put a gun to the man’s head and assaulted them. The four then left in her son’s car, the mother said.

Fearing they would return, “my son decided they had to escape”. The couple managed to free themselves from their restraints and leopard-crawled through the sand dunes before reaching the shoreline.

The brother of the young man said: “They ran for about 45 minutes along the coastline until they reached the Noordhoek Skiboat Club, where a party was being held.

The mother said it was “an absolute miracle” her son and his girlfriend’s lives were spared, but wanted to know why there had not been more media reports of similar incidents that had happened along this stretch of coast.

“What happens if the next attack results in a fatality?

“The public have a right to know what is going on. Are they (police and media) keeping incidents under wraps because of 2010 (Fifa World Cup) and tourism,” asked the shattered woman.

She urged other parents to warn their children of the dangers.

“They have to be careful. We need to speak to our children about going to public places that we should all be able to visit, but that are dangerous.”

Source:Weekend Post

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