Belfast Telegraph

Steven Grattan: After my coffee I can’t remember a thing... I woke seven hours later

 

By Steven Grattan

It was a terrifying attack which left me feeling violated.

For the past three weeks I have maintained the same routine: leave the house at 8.30am, get a coffee at the cafe beside my house, and then on to get the bus to the north of Bogota city where I teach English to business people.

On the morning in question my routine was exactly as described above. However, after getting the coffee I can't remember anything.

I woke up at home, seven hours later, feeling very nauseous and confused, as it was already dark.

It was 5pm. I never made it to my 11am private classes and my 5pm student had arrived, but I was still drugged and largely incapable of waking up.

I looked around and realised all of my valuables were gone: two phones, a professional camera, about £100 and, worst of all, my laptop that I have had for six years, containing all my teaching material and journalistic work.

The culprit had laid me on my bed while carrying out the robbery.

A lot of these possessions were quite well hidden around the apartment, so they must have taken their time while looking around.

The culprit had seemingly doped my coffee and, while I was under the effects, had taken me back to my apartment, which is a 30-second walk from the cafe, but the doorman had thought nothing of it. I assume the person had been watching my routine over a few days and knew my times and routes around the city.

This is apparently a common occurrence with these types of attacks.

Once awake, I stumbled out of my building in downtown Bogota to find somewhere to use the internet - although I have no recollection of this - to contact my best friend, Marc. I managed to find an internet cafe to get on Facebook and get in touch with my friend, who came straight away, and already knew something was wrong.

My message was apparently incoherent. Moreover, my boss, who is a mutual friend of ours, had contacted him asking why I hadn't shown up for my English classes.

I also managed to update my status so people knew what had happened, as I didn't have access to any devices at home.

After contacting Marc, who arrived around an hour later, I went back home. I was in shock when he arrived and he took me straight to a hospital, where tests were done very quickly to establish what had been used to drug me.

The doctor said that the results showed that I had been drugged with a high level of Benzodiazepine, a Valium_type drug.

This experience was truly frightening. It feels violating to know that someone took advantage of me in this way.

Although this event scared and saddened me, and even more so my family, I am not considering returning to Northern Ireland.

Bogota is a city of around nine million people - unfortunate events like this happen from time to time.

Overall, Colombia is a gem in Latin America - an absolutely beautiful place to visit with wonderful people.

I have been presented with an abundance of professional opportunities here, and will not let this incident put me off.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph