A Hijacked Port Elizabeth businessman was stabbed more than 20 times, stripped and forced to kneel in the bushes, with his attackers poised to slit his throat, in six hours of raw terror that ended with his escape near Coega yesterday.
“I thought it was my last day on this planet. They were getting ready to kill me,” a traumatised Pieter “PJ” Venter, 45, said from his hospital bed later.
The bloodied Lorraine resident was admitted to Greenacres Hospital at 4am, after breaking free of his attackers and fleeing to a nearby business, where a security guard called an ambulance.
The badly shaken former policeman, who now owns a construction and maintenance company and is a parttime firearm instructor, said yesterday evening the terrifying incident had happened so quickly he was struggling to piece everything together.
He had left Barney’s Tavern on the beachfront at about 10pm on Monday and had taken the Russell Road off-ramp en route home when he was attacked, the father of two said.
“I can’t recall exactly where they attacked me, but I think it was in Russell Road or Cape Road.
“I think I stopped at a red traffic light and, before I could blink, I remember two men in the back of my car.”
Venter said the men had yanked him from behind, stabbing him as he strug- gled with them.
“There was blood everywhere and, because they were stabbing me, I complied,” he said.
He was then pulled into the back of the car and shoved onto the floor.
Every time he tried to move, the men stabbed him in the back or side.
“By this time, a third man had climbed into the driver’s seat and was driving,” he said.
The men drove around for several hours with him still on the floor.
“I don’t remember much, I am not sure if I blacked out,” Venter said.
“At one stage, I remember they were driving fast so I assumed we were on the N2.”
While they were travelling, the men started pulling off his clothes.
“I tried to get to the door several times to escape, but every time they pushed me down and stabbed me.”
His wedding ring, watch, cellphone and wallet were stolen.
When the car finally stopped, Venter had no idea where he was.
“There was just bush everywhere. I realised they wanted to kill me and leave my body there.”
Venter, who had been stripped down to his underwear, was ordered out of the car and pulled into the bushes.
“I knew I had to do something or I was dead,” he said.
“The men forced me onto my knees and put the knife to my throat.”
In a desperate attempt to save his life, Venter told the men he had money in his bank account.
“The group then started kicking me, demanding the pin code.
“I gave them my code backwards, but they just carried on beating me.”
In a last-ditch effort to save himself, Venter grabbed a nearby rock – but was stabbed in the neck.
“It [the knife blade] missed my artery by a few centimetres,” he said.
“I managed to get the rock when I was on my knees and, as I threw it, they jumped backwards.”
He jumped up and made a frantic dash for freedom, running towards the road, with the men chasing after him.
“I was running down the road in my underpants, covered in blood.
“I was not sure if they got an artery, so I had my hand on my neck. “The men then ran back to the car. “I knew I had to get off the road as they were going to run me down.
“I ran into the bushes and eventually saw a building [in Neptune Road].
“I called out and the security guard found me. I just collapsed and begged for help.”
The guard called an ambulance and Venter was taken to hospital. “I am lucky to be alive,” he said. “The only thing I thought of was my children and my wife. I had to fight for them.”
The police K9 unit found Venter’s vehicle abandoned in Cuyler Street, Central, at about 9am yesterday.
At 2pm, he managed to cancel his bank cards. He said no money had been withdrawn from his Absa account, but his First National Bank card had been used twice – in Central, where R5 000 was withdrawn, and in Traduna Mall in Govan Mbeki Avenue, where R150 was taken.
Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said: “The vehicle hijacking task team will be taking over the docket.”
A case of hijacking and attempted murder is being investigated.
Greenacres Hospital spokeswoman Adele Kennedy said Venter had been admitted at the emergency room “before 7am” with multiple stab wounds, mostly to the upper body.
Meanwhile, Venter’s son, Juandre, was in the news at the weekend when video footage of him being pick-pocketed went viral.
Juandre was mugged at the Fiveways SPAR off Cape Road shortly before 4.30pm on Friday. Footage showed the thieves lifting his Samsung Galaxy S8.
Venter said the phone had been traced to Central, before the sim card was removed.
A 33-year-old man was hijacked in Parliament Street, Central, at 3am on Monday in an unrelated incident.
According to police, the man was attacked while walking to his vehicle.
“They took his car keys and fled with the vehicle. One of the suspects was believed to have been armed,” Janse van Rensburg said.
The Mercedes-Benz was spotted in Old Uitenhage Road yesterday by Bethelsdorp police and pulled over.
Three men were arrested and are due to appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court today.
By: Gareth Wilson/Herald Live