A burglar raped a 27-year-old Spanish national in the wee hours yesterday, after he climbed into her Perry Cross Road apartment through an unsecured window.
The woman has now sought the protection of her embassy, and was also sent to Nagpada police hospital for medical examination, after which the police filed a rape and robbery case against an unidentified man.
Police said that the incident was reported to them around 5 am, after her neighbours heard her cries for help and reported the matter to them.
Earlier in the day, the unidentified accused had entered other buildings in the neighbourhood in Bandra to burgle flats, but didn’t have much luck.
He entered two buildings, was beaten up by watchmen, and got away with only Rs 5,000. Later, he entered the Peridot building and climbed up to the third floor around 3.30 pm, where the victim stays. The woman, who had come to Mumbai to learn classical music, has been staying with a roommate, a photographer. Her roommate is presently in Kerala, and the victim was thus alone in the apartment. She is based in Germany, where she works as a music director.
The police officers said that the accused wriggled in through the window of the victim’s house, and found her sleeping in her bedroom. As he entered, she woke up. Wielding a knife he found in the kitchen, he asked her to hand over gold and money.
“When the victim said that she did not have any valuables, the accused forced himself on her and tried to rape her. She ran outside her apartment and knocked on her neighbour’s door, but found it locked. The accused pulled her back into the flat and raped her, following which she escaped into the bathroom and locked herself in,” said an officer from Bandra police station.
Alerted by neighbours, police reached the spot. They have now prepared eight teams and are in the process of rounding up suspects.
“On the basis of the victim’s statement, we have registered a case of rape and robbery. After the medical examination the case will become clearer. No arrest has been made yet,” said Vishwas Nangre Patil, additional commissioner of police (West region).
One of the neighbours said, “Late at night, I heard a woman screaming, and woke others up. When we realised they were coming from a bathroom window, we asked her what had happened and she told us that that a robber had entered her house. We immediately informed the police and asked her to calm down.”
“A police team and fire brigade officers came to the building at 5.30 am and rescued the woman,” said another neighbour, who is also a friend of the victim.
“In the afternoon, she returned with embassy officials. She packed her belongings and left with them,” she added.
The Bandra police rounded up seven suspects yesterday, including the burglar who robbed a watch and iPhones from actor Dino Morea’s house on October 26. The man was arrested on October 29 and later released on bail. “We have sent the robber’s photo to the woman for identification,” said an officer.
They also sent the victim for a medical examination to the Nagpada police hospital to confirm rape, after conducting a panchnama of the apartment and recording statements from the woman’s neighbours and watchmen in the building.
Police officers said they had also sent samples taken from the woman to the forensic laboratory.
“The woman’s statement and her medical reports are sufficient to build a case against the accused, even if she leaves the country. We are at present focusing on arresting the accused,” said a police officer.
“As soon as I heard some noise, I woke up. I was shocked to see a man in his 30s with a knife in his hand, wearing a cap and a handkerchief masking his face. He asked for gold, and then pounced on me,” said the victim in her police statement.
Threatening the woman, the man kept repeating the word ‘gold’. “When I said I didn’t possess any gold, the man threatened to kill me if I shouted. He then forced himself on me. My gown tore, and he tried to rape me. I left the room, ran out, and banged on my neighbour’s door. He pulled me back into the apartment, pushed me onto the bed and started raping me,” she said.
She added, “I ran into my bathroom and locked it from inside. Fearing he was waiting outside, I shouted for help through the bathroom window. My neighbours responded to my cries. They asked me what was the matter. Within 45 minutes they knocked down the bathroom door and got me out.”