Cape Town - Seven weeks after the highly publicised kidnap and sexual assault of an exchange student near Signal Hill, police have appealed to the public for information, and have released CCTV stills of one of the three suspects.
Police spokeswoman Captain Fienie Nimb said the footage was the “most important piece of evidence to date”.
She said an arrest of the man who appears in the footage would be the best hope for a breakthrough in the investigation. It was not clear if the suspect was the man who committed the sexual assault or an accomplice to the crime.
On Tuesday morning police released grainy CCTV images of a man using an ATM in Kloof Street. The investigation led police to the ATM after it was established that the woman’s card was used to withdraw money from her account.
Asked why it took nearly two months for the footage to be made public, Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut explained that the investigation was “very sensitive” and that police had to “make 100 percent sure of the information before releasing anything to the media”.
“I want to stress that there was no undue delay in this investigation,” he said.
Kathleen Dey, director at the NGO Rape Crisis, said the services offered at different police stations varied greatly throughout the country, and that suggestions of tardiness in this case would be “unwarranted”.
However, she did say that the footage of a possible suspect in this crime was a breakthrough.
“Many rape cases fall out of the system because suspects cannot be identified.
“The knowledge that their rapist is at large and unidentified has a very damaging effect on survivors.
“The process of a suspect being identified, arrested and prosecuted is thus intertwined with the healing process of the survivor,” she said.
In the early hours of Saturday, April 6, a 19-year-old Norwegian exchange student was raped after two men attacked her and her boyfriend at Signal Hill.
The assailants tied up the man and robbed the couple of jewellery, cellphones and wallets.
They asked the woman for her bank card and PIN number and forced the couple into their car.
A third suspect made off with the bank card, as the two assailants sexually assaulted the woman in the car.
“They drove off in the direction of Summer Greens, where the suspects stopped the vehicle and fled the scene on foot,” said Traut.
Nimb asked that anyone who could identify the man in the picture, or with information about this incident, or the whereabouts of the three men, contact investigating officer Warrant Officer Raymond Mitchell on 082 522 1085 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.