Mother of woman doused with petrol, burnt by boyfriend speaks out

Mandy Davids, the mother of a Joburg woman who, together with her friend, were doused with petrol and set alight at the weekend, has spoken out about the anguish her family has been going through.

Davids said this after the case against the man accused of the gruesome attack was postponed to February 28.

One of the victims passed on

Davids is the mother of Marishka Davids, the girlfriend of Mark Harvey. Harvey is accused of dousing the two women with petrol before setting them on fire. The women were attacked on February 11.

On Monday, the 38-year-old friend Zakkiyah Rayman died in hospital of severe burn wounds. She was buried on the same day in accordance with Islamic rites.

Speaking to Sunday World, Mandy said: “We are here [in court] for the second time in one week. He was admitted to the hospital. I knew the case would be postponed. I was informed by an officer. His burn [injuries] that are minor. My daughter is fighting for her life. I felt empty sitting in that courtroom on Tuesday. Reliving this is exhausting,” she said.

Davids opened up on the progress of Marishka’s condition.

Still critical in hospital

“There is no change in my daughter’s condition. She had her legs cleaned yesterday [on Wednesday],” she said.

Davids said her granddaughter was struggling to cope.

“My 9-year-old granddaughter is not coping. We explained what happened to her mother. She has become very withdrawn at this time. She will need to see a therapist,” she said.

Claudine Davids, who is Marishka’s aunt, described her niece’s personality as strong and bold.

“Marishka has a good heart, she is kind and caring. I love her dearly, she is very dear to my heart. She has not said anything to me about being in an abusive relationship. I am shocked to see all this. Mark was a very quiet man around us,” She added.

The gruesome attack happened days before Marishka could celebrate her 31st birthday.

Attack unprovoked, reasons unknown

It is alleged that on the night of the attack, Harvey arrived at his Florida home with a friend who was resolving a car issue earlier on. He went upstairs to his flat, which he shares with his girlfriend, to look for her.

Marishka was not home at the time, and Harvey was later told that she was probably sleeping at Zakkiyah Rayman’s flat.

It is alleged he came down rushing towards Rayman’s flat, and set the two women alight before fleeing the scene.

He was arrested on Monday.

Police unhelpful

Outside the court on Tuesday, Mandy Davids told Sunday World that she had to ask the police to drive to her to the hospital. This after the police insisted that the case be opened by one of the victims.

“They followed me to the hospital, and that is where her (Marishka’s) statement was taken. I received a call from Discovery [Hospital in Roodepoort] at 4.17am, informing me that my daughter was burned. I did not think much of it, I just rushed to where she was.

“Her brother came along with me. I was in shock when I saw the extent of the burns. Most of her body was already bandaged. Her brother went with her in the ambulance from Discovery to Joburg Gen (Charlotte Maxeke Hospital). I went to open a case. Marishka has a 9-year-old daughter who lives with me.”

Suspect described as ‘quiet’

Davis described Harvey as a “mouse”, referring to what she perceived to be his quiet nature.

“Whenever she came around with Marishka, he would just say ‘hello aunty Mandy’ and not make any conversation. 

“Marishka did not say anything to me about being in an abusive relationship,” she said.

Seeing Harvey walk calmly in the streets outside the court on Tuesday, infuriated her beyond words.

She added that the Harvey family has not made any contact with her since the incident. 

At the end, Davids had to rush off to the hospital to sign papers for an operation on Marishka to be performed.

Deceased’s family still distraught

Meanwhile, a relative speaking for the Rayman family, asked for privacy to mourn the deceased.

Harvey was on Tuesday admitted into Leratong Hospital in the West Rand, and he is under police guard.

Initially, the court postponed the case so that he could receive medical treatment for his burn wounds on his left arm and other parts of his body. He was ordered to see a doctor and appear before the same court with a doctor’s note on Wednesday.

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