Acid vic­tim was stalked for weeks by ex

Po­lice haven’t been tak­ing her case se­ri­ously, she says

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ANNA COX

IT SEEMED like a typ­i­cal case of crim­i­nal stalk­ing to Ines An­to­nio, 22. How­ever, the SAPS was ap­par­ently not equipped to deal with the crime.

An­to­nio is the young woman who had acid thrown on her face and body on Novem­ber 3 by a boyfriend who had al­legedly been stalk­ing her for weeks.

It took the po­lice two weeks to take a state­ment from her, and they said it was be­cause she could not speak after the vi­o­lent at­tack.

How­ever, An­to­nio’s em­ployer has de­nied this, say­ing she was ca­pa­ble of mak­ing a state­ment a day later, and de­spite telling po­lice­men that she could have done so, she was ig­nored.

She also spoke to The Star two weeks after the at­tack be­fore po­lice had in­ter­viewed her.

Her Benoni boyfriend ran away im­me­di­ately after the at­tack, but had al­legedly sent her more than 50 SMSes over the past few weeks, threat­en­ing to fin­ish off the job.

An­to­nio said from her hos­pi­tal bed she had met the at­tacker when she was 17. “He was gar­den­ing on a prop­erty, and my friends and I were lost. He gave us di­rec­tions and we be­came friends,” she said.

“After two months, I re­alised it was not right. He started be­ing abu­sive – phys­i­cally and emotionally – so I broke it off. Then I re­alised I was preg­nant. “He said he didn’t want the baby and tried to make me have an abor­tion, which I re­fused, so I broke off all con­tact.”

After that, she had lit­tle con­tact with him ex­cept for the few times he wanted to see his daugh­ter.

In re­cent weeks An­to­nio and a male friend grew closer. Her ex heard about this and started stalk­ing her.

“He came to my home and school and would sit for hours out­side wait­ing for me. Ev­ery­one no­ticed.

“I was shocked be­cause we had lit­tle con­tact all th­ese years. I didn’t ask any­thing from him. I have been pro­vid­ing for my own child, work­ing and study­ing part-time.”

He didn’t pay main­te­nance. There was no fight­ing be­tween them, so the at­tack was a com­plete shock, she said.

She burst into tears, say­ing her life was over un­less po­lice ar­rested him.

The sus­pect, a 28-year-old Benoni res­i­dent, con­tin­ues send­ing SMSes threat­en­ing to fin­ish off the job of killing An­to­nio and her male com­pan­ion, swear­ing at her, call­ing her by the k-word, and say­ing that he had changed and that if he could not have her, no one else would. He said he loved her and wanted her back.

In ram­bling SMSes, he ac­cused An­to­nio of be­ing a whore, say­ing the child was not his.

He has started harassing her fam­ily in Mozam­bique and mak­ing ac­cu­sa­tions against her.

He con­stantly threat­ens to take le­gal cus­tody of her daugh­ter. There are nu­mer­ous and con­tin­ued abu­sive threats about killing her.

Her daugh­ter is be­ing cared for by a land­lady, who is also a teacher.

“At least I know she is safe as I have been liv­ing there for many years,” said An­to­nio, who will un­dergo skin grafts to­mor­row.

Chris Hani Barag­wanath Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal de­clined to com­ment and re­fused The Star ac­cess to An­to­nio de­spite her re­quest to be in­ter­viewed in an at­tempt to get in­for­ma­tion to as­sist po­lice to ar­rest the sus­pect.

The Star was in­structed to get An­to­nio to ask for writ­ten per­mis­sion for such a re­quest. The Star ob­tained pho­tos from An­to­nio’s em­ployer to help the po­lice with their in­ves­ti­ga­tions for pub­li­ca­tion pur­poses.

TRAU­MA­TISED: Ines An­to­nio’s body is cov­ered in ban­dages after her ex threw acid on her.

WANTED: Ines An­to­nio’s ex is sought by po­lice. She still re­ceives threat­en­ing SMSes from him.

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