Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Ripper Rapists

Surgery

Dr. Angelov would later state that he had never seen someone with injuries and in the condition that Alison was in. Not in his 16 years as a doctor. This is how he described her:

"She was filthy, black as a coal miner. Her entire body was covered in a fine layer of black sand. Her eyes had haemorrhaged and were blood red, her hair was matted with sand, twigs, leaves and dried blood, her knees were cut and scraped, her feet were lacerated and her finger nails were black."

Her throat had been cut basically from ear to ear, a wound measuring about four inches, and deep enough for him to see her spinal column. By some miracle her carotid arteries and voice box had been missed, but pretty much everything else had been severed—her anterior muscles, trachea, larynx and all the major veins. The "something" that Tiaan had pushed back into the wound, was her thyroid. It had been cut in half and Alison should have died from this injury, since even a nick is very serious and potentially fatal. She should also have died from drowning in her own blood.

There were numerous stab wounds to her abdomen, and her intestines had been ruptured or punctured in several places. Not only would it need to be carefully washed in a saline solution to clean all the dirt and sand and other foreign matter, but every break in its surface would need to be discovered and stitched.

Alison was in surgery for three hours to close the wounds to her throat and stomach, and to fix her intestines. And even then her situation was critical. There was a substantial risk of septicemia in her abdominal injury. The wound to her throat could become swollen and choke her. As a result, Alison was placed in the High Care Unit and watched continuously.

She awoke later that morning, in pain. Seemingly every nerve in her body was crying out with some complaint. But she was alive. Sunlight shimmered all around her, and she was alive.

Her mother, who had been such a large motivation in her fight to live, came in to see her. When her father arrived from Johannesburg, he was shocked and overwhelmed at the sight of his daughter. Her first words to him were, "Daddy, please don't worry about me." This is one of the hallmarks of Alison; she tends to think of others first and herself second.

Tiaan also visited, resulting in an emotional reunion. Alison felt especially close to him, and that he really understood what she had gone through, since he had fought such a large part of her struggle right beside her.

Although rape was still very much a "hush crime" in 1994 South Africa, Alison was completely open about every aspect of the attack from the start. She did not feel guilty or ashamed.

And then the flowers arrived. Bunches and baskets and bouquets. Cards and notes. Before long, were it not for the machines and tubes and the nurses, Alison would have thought she was lying in a florist's shop. This was an initial indication of the tremendous impact this brave young woman would have on the people of Port Elizabeth, and very soon the whole of South Africa.

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