Retired wrestler Eric Rowan, 76, was hung up by his neck inside a locked cupboard with a thick plastic band around his neck, his mouth and nose taped shut… and rescued himself.
Eric Rowan, 76, survives hanging after brutal assault, Eastleigh Ridge Edenvale
EDENVALE. Mr Eric Rowan, 76, an Eastleigh Ridge resident and retired wrestler -- and also the son of a reknown South African cricketer -- was severely assaulted and left for dead on March 30. The information only came to light on April 8 2011. (source: journalist Dylan Slater).
One of his two black assailants now being sought by the police was the trusted family gardener, who had lived for free on the premises for a long time. Mr Rowan was attacked at around 1:15pm just after his wife had left to go shopping, leaving her husband alone with the gardener, who was working on the property. Shortly after his wife left, Mr Rowan was alerted that someone else was moving around his property because three of the four security beams had been set off. When the 76-year-old opened the security door for the gardener when the latter asked him to let him inside the house to turn off a water-pump, the old white man was overpowered. A length of plastic cable casing was immediately put around his neck by one of the suspects to restrain him. Another black man pointed a knife at Mr Rowan at the same time. However, the former wrestler, trained in unarmed combat, was able to grab away the knife from the assailant and then managed to throw his much younger male assailant to the ground. Mr Rowan was apparently then clubbed over the head from behind – as at that point he fell down unconscious. The old man then was dragged to a cupboard: and bound up with cables and ropes.
Hung up by his neck with a thick elastic band:
The suspects then tied a thick elastic band around his neck -- and hung up the unconscious man inside the cupboard. His mouth and nose were taped up. He was then left hanging, locked up inside the cupboard - with the key left in the lock. Mr Rowan regained consciousness just after he was dragged into the cupboard. During the struggle to get him inside, a first aid kit had fallen from a shelf inside the cupboard. This saved his life as moments later, when Mr Rowan regained consciousness, he managed to remove the tape on his nose and mouth and the elastic band from around his neck – because he could cut himself free with a pair of scissors he’d managed to get from the first-aid kit. He also noticed that the knife he had wrested from one of the suspects was still in his hand. Mr Rowan used the scissors to cut through the cables and ropes, and freed himself within half an hour from the locked cupboard. An ambulance arrived shortly after Mr Rowan had contacted relatives and he was taken to Linksfield Netcare where he got seven stitches on a finger which was bleeding profusely. The two suspects had by then fled the scene with cash and jewellery.
Mr Rowan was able to identify one of the suspects as the trusted family gardener, a black man in his mid twenties. The family had been employing this gardener for a long time and thought they knew him well. The man was even given free accommodation some time back on the premises. “We are too scared to employ anyone else to work in our home now. Who can we trust if this man just turned on us after all these years?” asked Mr Rowan’s daughter. The family reported the incident to the Edenvale SAPS.