'I thought I was going to die'

PE businesswoman almost killed during hijacking

Ambushed by three men in garage of Linkside home

A Port Elizabeth business woman was lucky to escape with her life when three men ambushed her in the garage of her Linkside home.
The dramatic attack, in which  Marilyne de Vos, 52, was strangled happened when she was leaving her Heythrope Drive home for work shortly before 8am.
In an interview, a visibly traumatised De Vos, the  owner of Asset Insurance Brokers, described how she was yanked out of the driver’s seat of her Hyundai Tucson while preparing to reverse out of the garage.
“I was on my way to work, opening the garage gate and walking to the car.
"I got into the driver’s seat and started the car when all of a sudden my car door was flung open,” she said.
De Vos said she then felt a hand around her neck, strangling her.  
"It happened so quickly. He [the attacker] kept asking me who was still at home.”
De Vos said that in her panicked state  she managed to put her elbow on the hooter in an attempt to draw attention.
“As the hooter sounded, he clearly got angry and pulled me out of the car. He then threw me on the ground and carried on strangling me. I could not breathe or speak.
"His grip was so tight it felt like I was dying and losing consciousness.”
On hearing the hooter blaring, De Vos’s domestic worker came running out of the house.
“I was still on the ground being strangled and could see another two around the car. She saw what was happening and started running down the driveway screaming for help.
"One of the men then ran after her and hit her. He then proceeded to badly beat her and pulled her up the driveway into the garage,” De Vos said.
“As this was happening, one of the attackers managed to grab my handbag out of the car and was carrying it around with him. He then spoke to the others and told them that they must just take the car and leave.”
De Vos said during the robbery, the men kept asking who else was inside the house.
“There is no doubt that they wanted to rob me and take me back into the house. It was very scary and I really thought I was going to die,” she said.
“I think that they got a fright when they heard the hooter and the screaming.”
Within minutes, the attackers jumped into her car and sped off.
“As soon as they drove off, I managed to run up the stairs and press the panic button. By this stage, neighbours had come outside to see what was happening.
"One neighbour jumped in his car and chased after them, but they had already disappeared," De Vos said.
Shortly after the attack, the car was found by police, security officials and a vehicle tracking company in Ruth Street, Glen Hurd.
“I think that this was planned and they were waiting outside in the bushes, watching for the best time to ambush me,"  De Vos said.
Asked if she saw any firearms, De Vos said that while no firearms were seen, the men could have had them.
“It happens so quickly. One of the men had a balaclava on but I am not sure about the other two,” she added.
The visibly traumatised domestic worker, who declined to be named, was hit in the face and unable to talk.
By the afternoon, a doctor had been to visit both victims to treat them.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said the vehicle had been impounded for forensics.
“Our team will go through the car and hopefully get clues that could lead to identifying the suspects involved,” he said.
“An area search was done where the car was abandoned, but the suspects were not found.”
Labans said a case of hijacking and robbery was under investigation.

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