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Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels

RouTe (18 August 2017, 6:32)
'I thought I was going to die': Young model tells of terror as blood streamed down her face after 'raging Robert Mugabe's wife savagely beat her with an electric plug'
  • Grace Mugabe, 52, allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels, 20, at a hotel
  • Mrs Mugabe is accused of beating her with an extension cord inside hotel room
  • The young model has now relived the moment she feared 'it was the end of me'
  • Mrs Mugabe is now back in Zimbabwe despite initially telling South African police that she was willing to answer questions


Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
South African Gabriella Engels, 20, described the terrifying minutes she spent cowering on her knees in a hotel in Johannesburg

A model has re-lived the moment when she feared 'it was the end of me' during a savage beating at the hands of Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe, who is facing GBH charges over the attack.

South African Gabriella Engels, 20, described the terrifying minutes she spent cowering on her knees, blood streaming down her face, as despot Robert Mugabe's second wife viciously struck her with a weighty electrical plug and chord 'with such force and energy that I never thought she was going to stop'.

The cover girl needed 14 stitches for gashes to her face and many more to her scalp after Mrs Mugabe's 'vicious unprovoked attack' in a hotel room in Johannesburg on Sunday night as she hunted for her playboy sons.

On Tuesday night it was reported that the tyrant's wife had fled justice and crossed the border back to her mansion in Harare despite her lawyers assuring South African police that she was prepared to answer questions about the assault.

A senior Zimbabwean government official said: 'Yes, she is back in the country. We don't know where this issue of assault charges is coming from.'

Devastated Gabriella, from Johannesburg, told MailOnline she was 'furious' at the thought that her attacker might never be held to account.

Eyewitnesses in the Zimbabwe capital reported seeing Mrs Mugabe's motorcade speeding from the airport a few hours after she had been due to surrender to police.

'I am scared she will never be held to account for what she did to me,' Gabriella told MailOnline from the home she shares with her mother, Debbie.

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
The 20-year-old (pictured) had been partying with Robert Mugabe Jr, 25, and Chatunga Mugabe, 21

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Alleged attack: Gabriella Engels claims Grace Mugabe beat her in a hotel room after she found the model in the company of her sons

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Mrs Mugabe (pictured) 52, who is First Lady of Zimbabwe, allegedly attacked the model at a South African hotel

'She beat me so badly, with all her power and might, I honestly thought it was the end of me.

'Her security guards and bodyguards just stood and watched that happen, I was pleading with her for mercy, I was crying out for help at the top of my voice,' she revealed.

Gabriella explained how she had been briefly introduced to one of the first lady's playboy sons by a mutual friend at the weekend, without knowing who he was.

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She said: 'I had been introduced to Chatunga Mugabe, but I wasn't told his last name so had no idea who he was and barely spoke to the guy.

'On Sunday night, me and two other friends were with this mutual friend, who is also from Zimbabwe, and had not even seen the Mugabe brothers that evening, let alone been in the same room as them when this woman came in and just started attacking us.

'I had no idea who she was. She was shouting at us to tell her where her sons were, we just kept repeating that we didn't know them, that we hadn't seen them.

'But she did not listen to that and picked up an electrical cable and just started hitting us with it, including with the plug.



'One of my friends managed to run away, but me and my other friend were just pinned up against the side of the room, I was on my knees and she beat me until blood was running down my face, I could taste it.

'I thought I would fall unconscious. The power of the first blow to my head was just brutal. I thought she was never going to stop, she just kept going and going.

'The room was full of security guys, including her bodyguards. They just stood there, in silence, watching it all happen. Eventually, I managed to get out of the room and run for help.'

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Injured: The model uploaded an image of her injuries to her social media accounts

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
The model accuses Mrs Mugabe of beating her with an extension cord and leaving her with a head wound

Grace Mugabe, 52, allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Accusations: The model accuses Mrs Mugabe of beating her with an extension cord and leaving her with a head wound

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Claims: The hotel confirmed guests had been asked to leave but would not confirm whether they were Mrs Mugabe, pictured with husband Robert, and her sons

Mugabe wears jacket embellished with his face for 93rd birthday



It was only later that Gabriella learned the true identity of her notorious attacker, whose reputation for ruthless political ambition, violent outbursts and lavish spending habits as earned her the nicknames 'DisGrace' and 'the First Shopper' of Zimbabwe.

Following the alleged attack, Miss Engels tweeted a picture of a wound on her head.

She wrote on Twitter: 'What is a girl compared to a women beating you and 10+ body guards standing back leaving her to do this s***.

'She split my head open in 3 places with an extension cord and used the plug to hit me.'

Gabriella's mother, Debbie, told MailOnline: 'I am so proud of her for standing up for herself against such a powerful person.

'I am going to feel very let down if it turns out that Grace Mugabe does not face justice over what she did. When I first saw my girl covered in blood after that beating, I almost collapsed.'

Vish Naidoo, spokesman for the South African Police Service, confirmed to MailOnline that 'a female suspect' in the case made by Gabriella had been due to present herself to police for questioning at 10am this morning, after her lawyer contacted the authorities to make arrangements.

Tonight 52 year-old Mrs Mugabe's whereabouts remain unknown, although her lawyer has reportedly told police that she had not left South Africa.

'An investigation into the case will continue,' Mr Naidoo said, 'and the findings will be presented to the Senior Public Prosecutor in due course.

Grace Mugabe 52 allegedly attacked model Gabriella Engels
Ms Engels (pictured) claim Mrs Mugabe beat her in front of more than ten bodyguards

The assault on the young model is he latest in a string of violence incidents linked to Mrs Mugabe's conduct at home and abroad.

Earlier this month, she was reportedly held briefly in Singapore after attempting to destroy camera equipment belonging to two journalists. In 2009 she was accused by British photographer Richard Jones of punching him in the face repeatedly while her bodyguards pinned him to the ground, outside a hotel in Hong Kong. On both occasions, her diplomatic immunity protected her from further investigation or criminal charges.

In Zimbabwe, which descended into political chaos under the rule of her 93 year old husband, she was accused by Human Rights Watch in May this year of ordering the harassment, assault and violent eviction of 200 families.

She is a leading candidate to succeed her ageing husband as both leader of the ruling party and head of state in Zimbabwe.

By Jane Flanagan In Cape Town for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 20:39, 15 August 2017 |