New Zealand Rugby
Mitchell stabbed in Jo'burg home
October 11, 2010
John Mitchell has taken on the Lions job in South Africa © Getty Images
Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell has been stabbed after confronting intruders in his Johannesburg apartment on Sunday night.
Mitchell has been released from hospital after receiving treatment for two wounds to his upper arm and thigh and is now staying in alternative accommodation along with roommate and coaching colleague Wayne Taylor, who had escaped the apartment down a drainpipe before raising the alarm.
The new Lions coach, who left Western Force this year, thought it was Taylor playing a prank when he realised someone was sneaking into his room. He decided to tackle what turned out to be one of two intruders, before the second man stabbed him. The pair then tied Mitchell up and got away with two laptop computers, phones, an iPod, a digital camera and cash, although police recovered the laptops and camera outside the apartment.
"I'm not feeling great, obviously, but my injuries are not too bad and I just thank God that they missed the artery in my leg when they stabbed me," Mitchell said after returning to work on Monday.
"This was a very unfortunate incident, and I wouldn't wish it on any other person to be held hostage and woken in that manner by having an intruder in your room, feeling both your and your friends' lives are in danger. The security at the complex was insufficient on Saturday night, as we have lived there safely for over three months. The security company has a lot to answer for with what happened to us."
Mitchell confirmed that he had undergone counselling in the wake of the incident and that he remained committed to the Lions and working in South Africa.
"Possibly the worst part of the incident was not knowing if Tails [Wayne Taylor] was OK, or if he was even alive," he said. "Tails managed to climb out the window and call the police for help. This was the best thing he could have done, and I commend his decision to escape the apartment as he did not know if they were armed.
"I went for some trauma counseling on Sunday evening which was very beneficial, and I now have a process to work through on myself. I cannot dwell on this and I need to move forward.
"I am still very committed to the Lions. This is a beautiful country and I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to work here. I won't let this deter my commitment or passion for the team, but I need to make sure that I am totally secure in where I live, as it is not at all nice waking up and having to defend your life."
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