Mugabe bludgeoned photographer’s head with her diamond rings




It is not the first time the Zimbabwean first lady has attacked someone and caused bruises, cuts and abrasions to the head.

In January 2009, a 43-year-old Grace Mugabe stepped out of the five-star Kowloon Shangri-la Hotel with a friend and a bodyguard.

Michael Sheridan, a correspondent for the Sunday Times UK, told AFP at the time that he approached Mugabe in the hotel lobby shortly before she stepped out.

“I asked whether she’s enjoying her stay. She looked stunned to be approached by a British journalist. Her lady friend denied she’s Mrs Mugabe.”

Seconds later, as the two journalists – on an excursion at the time to document Mugabe’s excessive shopping indulgences while her husband presided over a country in economic ruin partly aggravated by land grabs – approached her, Zimbabwe’s first lady viciously attacked the photographer.

The two journalists said they wanted to extensively cover the first lady’s trip to show the “obvious contrast between her extravagant lifestyle and the plight of people in Zimbabwe”.

British photographer Richard Jones, speaking to international media outlets that promptly and widely reported on the matter in a time just before the proliferation of social media, said he was beaten up and punched repeatedly by an enraged Grace Mugabe.

Jones said the Gucci-loving former secretary in Robert Mugabe’s office when the Zimbabwean independence hero was still married to Sally objected to her pictures being taken in an upmarket area of Hong Kong.

Sheridan said Jones was about six metres away from Mugabe when she told her bodyguard to attack him. When the attack escalated, Sheridan himself tried coming to his colleagues’ assistance.

“The bodyguard grabbed Mr Jones, wrestled with him, attempted to take his camera. He then held him while Mrs Mugabe struck him in the face repeatedly,” Sheridan said.

Jones, a chief photographer with Hong Kong-based Sinopix photo agency at the time, was completely shocked.

“She was completely deranged, absolutely raging with anger,” Jones said.

After consulting a doctor, he was diagnosed as suffering from numerous bruises, cuts and abrasions to his head and face.

“The cuts and bruises allegedly caused by the first lady … were due to the diamond rings on her fingers,” Jones told AFP.

Minutes later, close to four “large bodyguards” emerged from the hotel and tried apprehending a bleeding Jones, but were reportedly stopped by security officers at Tsim Sha Tsui Centre near the hotel, according to Sheridan.