Abducted, beaten, knifed ... terror of Derry woman at hands of car-jack gang
The family of a Northern Ireland woman who was abducted, beaten and stabbed in South Africa have spoken of their relief that she was rescued alive.
Dorothy Carlyle (59), who is originally from Londonderry, was ambushed by a gang of men outside the gates of her home in north Durban and was forced to listen as they discussed who would kill her.
The widowed mother-of-four had had lunch at home and was about to return to her work as an estate agent at around 2.30pm on Tuesday when her terrifying ordeal began.
The three men threatened Ms Carlyle at knifepoint and it is understood that they put a bag over her head and restrained her.
Over the next nine hours the Derry woman was beaten and stabbed while her captors moved her between different locations and locked her in the boot of her car for hours on end.
She was eventually rescued in a shoot-out between her captors and police which resulted in three people being arrested. Two others fled the scene.
Ms Carlyle, originally from Limewood Street in the Bogside area, moved to South Africa 36 years ago with her husband Tony, who died in 2006.
Tony was originally from the Broadway area of Creggan. Ms Carlyle looks set to remain in hospital for her 60th birthday tomorrow.
Her nephew Aaron Carlyle said relatives in Derry and South Africa had an anxious wait after receiving word of the shocking incident from Dorothy’s children in London and Durban.
“It was a long period of time from when we found out there was a problem and when they actually found her.
“One of her daughters and her son live in Reading and it was very horrific for them in terms of distance. Their first instincts were to go there.
“Her son Mark went to the airport and got on a flight. At this stage Dorothy hadn’t been found and the situation was getting more and more critical.
“He didn’t find out until the next morning when he arrived that she had been found alive.”
Aaron said that while the family was relieved, they were also concerned for her welfare in the coming months.
“She is obviously very traumatised. There are going to be emotional scars which go beyond the physical abuse and they will take time to heal.
“They traumatised and even tortured her.
“There were superficial stab wounds, she was beaten numerous times, and she heard them talking about who was going to kill her.”
The gang alleged to have orchestrated the horrific attack were only apprehended as they tried to get more money from Ms Carlyle’s bank account.
Aaron said: “The ATMs were being watched and in that way the security forces were able to locate the car.”
Aaron said his aunt frequently returned to her native Derry.
“She is in regular contact with her relatives here and is still very much an Irish lady. She very much sees Ireland as her home,” he said.
Ms Carlyle’s four children, son Mark and daughters Lauren, Brooke and Janine, were all understood to be at her hospital bedside in South Africa last night.
Car-jacking is a significant problem in South Africa. In some places there are roadsigns warning people that certain areas are hotspots.
There were 16,000 car-jackings in one year, and 60 murders resulting from the hijackings. South Africa also has an extraordinarily high rate of murders, assaults, rapes and other crimes compared to most countries.