Tuesday, 30 January 2024, 11:31
The young woman, Maria, who was rescued by a private hire driver after two men allegedly tried to rape her on the street in Malaga city, had passed the suspects just moments earlier in a taxi. Here, she tells the full story of her frightening ordeal to SUR
"These two look very bad, be careful," the driver had warned her. "I was a minute away from my flat, so I decided to get off at Vialia so that the taxi driver could take my friend to her door," she said. The 28-year-old's friend told Maria to walk quickly and not hang up the phone until she arrived home, but the two men approached her rapidly.
Despite a rowdy work party that ended at 5am on Sunday 28 January, Maria had not drunk any alcohol. "I was fully conscious and strong. That helped me to stand up to them and struggle," she said. The attackers hid their faces with a balaclava and "one of them grabbed my arm and started saying: 'come here, come here'," and tried to pull her towards a doorway on Calle Cuarteles.
"I told him: 'take the bag and go', but I got really scared when the other guy started to take off his belt. Then I struggled more and tried to move towards the road. I didn't care if I fell out onto the road, I needed someone to help me. And I would rather be run over than raped. A sexual assault is like having your life taken away while you're still alive, it's very traumatic," she said.
That's when a large black van appeared and Maria thought she was going to be abducted "like in the movies". While she was trying to get rid of the two guys in balaclavas, the vehicle pipped its horn and stopped next to them: "Then I thought: 'Either he helps me or he's the one who's kidnapping me'. But I literally had no choice. If I ran, wearing heels, I was sure to get caught," Maria added.
"I saw that the door was open and that it was only occupied by the driver. I took a gamble and ran towards it," she said. Once inside, she heard the driver was phoning the police "and I closed the door and called my friend".
The driver was Adrián Maldonado, 26, a professional in the private hire vehicle (VTC ) sector who was about to finish his shift when he noticed the woman in trouble. Adrian locked the vehicle and followed them while giving their position to police who arrived quickly and arrested them next to the Cercanías commuter train station near Calle Alemania. "They confronted the officers as if it was nothing and said that it wasn't them," Maria said.
"The Local Police acted spectacularly. It took them a minute to arrive, they arrested them and they calmed me down a lot. I thank all the officers who were involved that night". But Maria especially thanked Adrian, who even offered to take her to the hospital to be examined. "He behaved with me like a real hero. I wish there were more people like that. I don't know how to thank him. If I knew the mayor, I would ask him to give him an award," she said.
"We must always report them, I want to emphasise this. Maybe if I had escaped from the aggressors and got away from there, I would have been so shocked that I would not have thought of going after them, calling the police and reporting it. But you have to do it, because tomorrow it could happen to another girl and you can stop it," Maria added.
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