Wife recalls horror of attack as husband surrenders to cops
A PORT Elizabeth woman who survived a frenzied knife attack last week, described in chilling detail yesterday how she was repeatedly stabbed outside a friend’s house after her estranged husband tracked her down.
Lying in her hospital bed, her neck in a brace, Anna-Marie Stevens, 43, also told how she had desperately tried to escape the abusive relationship, taking refuge at her friend’s home in Sydenham months ago and filing for a divorce.
She would always duck out of sight when she went out with her friend in the car.
Earlier yesterday, her husband Martin, 47, who had been on the run since the brutal attack five days ago, handed himself over to the police.
Accompanied by his lawyer, Dean Murray, the Algoa Park cabinetmaker kept his head up as he walked past a group of journalists and photographers into the charge office at the Mount Road police station.
Murray said Stevens would appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court this morning.
Anna-Marie’s sister, Charlotte Fourie, kept a watchful eye on her sibling in hospital yesterday as she recalled the horrific events on the night of the attack.
Slowly sipping water fed to her through a straw, a traumatised Anna-Marie said: “I have no feeling in my fingers or legs.”
Despite her quite extensive injuries, Anna-Marie’s voice was strong and determined.
“I am not afraid to speak. I have nothing to hide, ” she said.
The horror unfolded at 9pm on Wednesday when Anna-Marie and her friend – who did not want to be named – decided to go out for an ice-cream.
“I was in the car while my friend closed the gate, ” Anna-Marie said.
“He [Martin] just came out of nowhere. He rammed her [the friend] with the gate and ran towards me. I jumped out of the vehicle and we wrestled.
“He then rammed me into the gate and I felt something sting. I wasn’t aware [at first] that he was stabbing me.
“He just kept on stabbing me. He then threw me to the ground and left me for dead.
“It was very painful but I was fully conscious throughout.”
Anna-Marie said her relationship with Stevens, to whom she had been married for six years, had been abusive and she had tried to escape.
“He was always talking about his excessive love for me, but it wasn’t that – it was an obsession. I left him because of his aggressive nature and split personality.”
Her friend, 59, said Anna-Marie had been living with her for the past three months and was petrified of Stevens.”
She said if they went anywhere, Anna-Marie would hide in the back of her car.
The woman said Stevens must have been hiding on the night of the attack because she did not see him before it was too late.
About 30 minutes later, while the police were still at the scene, Stevens allegedly phoned her to find out if Anna-Marie was still alive.
This is not the first time Stevens has been accused of extreme violence in a relationship.
Fifteen years ago, Stevens killed his ex-wife, Hettie, 31, and her friend, Colin Rosslee, 36, whom he believed were lovers, before turning the gun on himself.
Stevens survived but his face was permanently disfigured.
He was acquitted of the double murder after the court found he had suffered a psychotic episode.
Referring to her husband’s past, AnnaMarie said they had been “working at it” .
“I was fully aware of his past and we were attempting to work on it together, but he did not want to comply, ” she said.
She alleged the stabbing was not the first time he had been violent towards her.
He had allegedly tried to strangle her previously and it had been reported to the police. He had also allegedly threatened her on numerous occasions. “I always overlooked it, ” she said. After she left, Stevens offered friends rewards if they could convince Anna-Marie to go back to him, but she refused.
The stabbing has opened old wounds for the family and friends of Hettie and Rosslee.
A 40-year-old Despatch woman, who did not want to be identified, said she had been with the couple on the day they died and remembered the details of the murders 15 years ago as if it were yesterday.
“We had all been so happy. We had been swimming and tanning [when it happened], ” she said.
She said they had all been scared of Stevens after he and Hettie were divorced.
“One day we were in the gym and I looked up and saw him just standing there, watching us, ” she said.
“I am praying for [Anna-Marie] to get better. She must not go back to him. He will kill her.”
Stevens will spend the night in jail before his brief court appearance today.
Murray said Stevens had not yet given a statement to the police and it was not yet clear if he would be referred for psychiatric evaluation.