Donkey cart assault victim begins to respond

Lynn Williams

IN her first step towards recovery, Port Elizabeth animal lover Lorna Poulter has opened her eyes and is responding to those around her.

Poulter was left in a coma following a savage beating with a car anti-theft device – allegedly after an altercation over an overloaded donkey cart on one of the city’s main roads – two weeks ago.

Although still in intensive care and unable to speak, Poulter, 50, has started to acknowledge the people around her.

Poulter’s best friend, Hanna Berry, said her colleagues and friends were overjoyed.

And in an effort to speed up her recovery, they are putting a picture of her beloved dog, Teddy, in a frame next to her bed.

“She wakes up at times. Even though she cannot speak she acknowledges people and things that are said to her by nodding,” Berry said.

“I know this is just a small step in her recovery but it gives us hope. She is a fighter.”

In more good news, Poulter’s father, Trevor, 81, who has not seen his daughter since before the attack, is back home after being admitted to hospital last week with low blood pressure.

The setback came just days after his discharge from hospital following a massive heart attack. Poulter’s mother suffers from Alzheimer’s and her sister lives overseas.

Poulter’s alleged attacker, Xolisa Ntantiso, 26, has appeared in court and been charged with attempted murder. His bail hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Ntantiso is accused of beating Poulter with a gorilla steering lock after a heated discussion about an overloaded donkey cart.

Poulter had stopped to berate the cart drivers in Main Road, Walmer.

Nikki Pollak, who operates Facebook group Animals Port Elizabeth, said Poulter’s neighbour was looking after and feeding her dog and three cats.

Pollak and Animal Anti-Cruelty League representative Linda-Louise Swain have established a fund to help pay Poulter’s medical bills.

“People have really opened their hearts to help,” Pollak said.

“The donations received thus far amount to R700. More people have pledged to make donations.

“Her pets are well looked after. They are just waiting for her to come home.”

Additional reporting by Hendrick Mphande

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