Suspect appears in court for raping teen during Vesco Newcastle Winter Festival


FARMER’S HALL – Police arrested a 44-year-old man for the rape and assault of a 19-year-old girl during the Vesco Newcastle Winter Festival on Saturday, April 29.

SAPS Corporate Communications and Liaison Officer, Lizzy Arumugam confirmed the incident occurred at about 7.30pm after the suspect had forced the victim into the veld.

“The man was arrested shortly thereafter, and appeared in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court on May 5.”

The case was adjourned pending further investigations.

As part of a safety awareness campaigns, Mrs Arumugam issued the following warnings for young women who travel alone at night:

– Be crime conscious; be aware of crime opportunities at all times

– Never walk alone and don’t talk to strangers. Be on the lookout for strange cars or people.

– Walk in well-lit busy streets and in a group, if possible.

– Make sure your home is secure, and become a member of an armed response service. Be sure that you know all the emergency numbers or have them displayed in an accessible area.

– Always let someone know where you are going and how long you will be gone. Think twice before advertising your impending absence on social media. Criminals also have access to social media.

– Trust your instinct.

– Avoid going onto a congested street where you cannot even walk properly; that is where you will find criminals pickpockets.

Factors which should be defined by the police during major events such as the winter festival should include:

– The requirement for complex planning

– A high profile attracting media attention

– Distinct planning, construction and operational phases before, during and after the event.

– A significant and diverse range of stakeholders

– A large numbers of volunteer and inexperienced staff

– A time-critical project

– The requirement for careful consideration and management of safety risks

– Security.

Zianne Leibrandt

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