In 2006 I was assaulted at an Engen petrol station in Claremont Cape Town on my way home by a bunch of school boys who believed me to be gay. I suffered numerous injuries the worst of which was having my neck broken which left me a quadriplegic.
One of the accused Dane jumped into his mothers, Stephanie Killian’s car shouting ‘Go,go,go!’ while another witness heard Stephanie shouting to the rest of the boys ‘to get the fuck in the car’. Once the boys had piled into the Chrysler Voyager she drove away from the scene leaving me for dead. In court a further witness testified that Stephanie had said “They are a bunch of hooligans. I’ve had to pick them up at scenes like this far too many times.” And yet another witness testified Stephanie was shouting at the accused ‘to get the Fuck in the car’
How was she able to sit and watch while a person was being bullied often fills my thoughts?
The eight boys were tracked down by the police and the National Prosecuting Authority pursued a charge of attempted murder against Dane Killian, Oliver Scholtz, Michael Enslin, Samuel Davidson, Joel Thackwray, Shane Woldendorp, Liam Hecther and Justin Maxwell.
The boys all attended prestigious school institutions of Reddam House Collage, Wynberg Boys High School and one of them UCT.
A 17- month criminal trial ensued in which 7 of the boys hired high profile defense attorney William Booth known locally as the ‘Devils Advocate’ The boys were from wealthy families & the South African media dubbed them ‘The Brat Pack’
The parents of the accused were disruptive and disrespectful in court and at a stage magistrate Redelinghuys had to threaten to have them removed.
This behavior carried on out of the court room by the accused and parents where they would be confrontational and abusive towards the media calling the press ‘wankers and idiots’ and shouting things like ‘I don’t give a shit, go and do your jobs somewhere else’
Later it was discovered that evidence was suppressed.
As for what happened to me after the assault I was rushed to ICU and spent days with weights screwed into my head to keep my neck in traction until I was deemed stable enough to be operated on.
The 6-and-a-half-hour surgery entailed the surgeon cutting out part of my right hip bone and fusing it into my neck along with a titanium plate.
Shortly after my surgery was completed I regained full consciousness but nothing could prepare me for what I woke up to.
The surgeon came to me and said the operation had been a success but I would never walk again and needed to start accepting my situation and condition.
HEARING THESE WORDS, crushed and devastated me. It felt as though I HAD LOST EVERYTHING
Suddenly everything I had planned for my future, every dream I’d ever had, vanished.
I spent the next few months at UCT Academic hospital preparing for life in a wheelchair as the therapists there put it.
This was a terrible time in my life. I suffered from unbearable nerve pain and my life had been reduced to sanding blocks of wood to try get hand and finger function back and hours upon hours of speech therapy in order to learn how to talk again.
Finally, after months of physical therapy I was discharged and sent home.
My excitement to be out and back into the real world and my life was short lived.
Once home I soon realised that everyday tasks were unachievable and the loss of my independence made me feel worthless, depressed and angry.
The reality of my situation only started to sink in then.
THIS WAS DEFINATLY A LOW POINT IN MY LIFE.
I found myself faced with a decision,
I could carry on with my everyday life feeling sorry for myself. Blaming my assailants for the situation I was in and accepting other people’s opinion that my physical condition was the best I could expect,
I could take responsibility for my recovery, identify what I wanted to achieve and put my aspirations into action. Your reality is a consequence of the choices you make.
Thankfully I made a decision on the latter
Through therapies from Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town and clinics like Project Walk in USA, Cyclone Mobility in the United Kingdom I have progressed tremendously. I was fortunate to undergone therapies in Miami and Johannesburg as well. My therapies include acupuncture, reflexology, cranial sacral, body stress release, hydrotherapy, treadmill therapy, visualization and weekly sessions at Bodytec Steenberg to name a few.