kidnapped on her driveway and held in the boot of her car for nine hours was rescued by South African police who used her mobile phone signal and bank details to track her down.
According to the Irish Independent
, Dorothy Carlyle's family said she told them she was repeatedly slapped and stabbed with a screwdriver by her captors who argued over when they should kill her as she was driven around a township near the city of Durban "like a trophy".
Police said the 59-year-old was ambushed as she got into her BMW in a quiet suburb on Tuesday at around 2.30pm by three men wielding knives who forced her into the boot.
They drove her to a cash machine where they withdrew the maximum daily amount of R2,000 (€185) using her credit card before travelling on to the notorious KwaMashu township.
There they celebrated in a tavern while they waited for the midnight deadline so they could withdraw more money.
The estate agent, who is originally from Derry and moved to Durban 30 years ago, described how she heard them boasting to bystanders about their captive.
Her daughter Brooke said she and her sister Lauren had gone shopping for a present for their mother's 60th birthday tomorrow, and they only realised she had been taken when she failed to return home from work.
They called police and a security company which traced Mrs Carlyle's movements, using the last signal from her mobile phone before the hijackers switched it off, and data from banks from which they had tried to withdraw money.
A helicopter was sent to KwaMashu along with police officers who made door-to-door enquiries. A community crime website circulated details of her car.
The BMW was eventually found and, following a shoot-out, Mrs Carlyle was freed.
A 22-year-old man was arrested at the scene, along with two 15-year-old girls. Two more men, aged 17 and 22, were arrested on Wednesday night.
Interviewed after her ordeal, Mrs Carlyle said she believed she had been driven around for at least six hours and repeatedly lost consciousness.
"She said many people got in and out of the car and she was being shown off like a trophy. They slapped her if she spoke and they stabbed her with a screwdriver," Lauren said.
A private security source said it was likely that she would have been killed if the search team had not found her in time.
A police spokesman said all five suspects would appear in court today on charges of kidnapping and hijacking.