A mother who stabbed her daughter's attacker to death and seriously injured two others when she caught them gang raping her daughter in South Africa has been told she will no longer face a murder charge.
Prosecutors revealed that two other charges of attempted murder have also been dropped after ruling that there was no realistic chance of a successful prosecution.
The woman, 56, was dubbed 'Lion Mama' for running 3km with a kitchen knife before stabbing all three attackers until they collapsed after being told of the attack by a teenage relative of one of the men.
The mother then comforted her daughter until police arrived, before finding herself under arrest and facing charges. the MailOnline reported.
That led to a huge public backlash and a campaign to fund her legal fees.
Two lawyers even offered their services for free to defend the woman - who cannot be named because her daughter is the victim of a sexual crime - after the incident in September.
Yesterday at Lady Frere Magistrates Court in Eastern Cape province the National Prosecuting Authority announced that all charges against her were being officially dropped by the state.
NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali told News24: "The docket was referred to the senior prosecutor and based on the evidence in the docket she declined to prosecute the case against the woman".
She confirmed there was not thought to be any realistic chance of a guilty verdict.
The two surviving men have been charged with rape and will be in the same court on Wednesday.
Speaking about the horrific ordeal, the mother said she was alerted to the attack by an 18-year-old cousin of the rapist who was killed.
The mother said she had to run 3km after being told of the attack in order to stop it.
The distraught mother said she repeatedly called the police in her home village of Zwartwater in the Eastern Province but it just rang out with no officer picking up the telephone.
In desperation she picked up a kitchen knife and her friend led her to the property where she could hear her daughters cries and she burst in and found her daughter near naked.
The three men who were taking turns gang raping her were taken completely by surprise as the mother went into a blind rage stabbing all three men repeatedly until they collapsed.
A South African Police Service source said the blood soaked mother comforted her daughter until the police were contacted and arrived and paramedics came to treat her victims.
One man, Zamile Siyeka, was pronounced dead at the scene at his two accomplices, Xolisa Siyeka and Mncedisi Vuba, were rushed to hospital suffering from serious injuries.
She also praised the teen as a real hero, saying she is now in fear of her life after being blamed for the death of her relative and has attempted suicide.
Overwhelmed by the criticism and threats on her life, she drank paraffin and bleach.
She survived and is being treated at Frontier Hospital in Queenstown but is still living in constant fear.
The woman said: "All I wanted was to protect my daughter. When I answered the call from the teenager I did not want to believe my daughter was being raped and hoped it was a mistake.
"I could not believe it, because - even the one who has died, who was doing this to my daughter - I doubted that he could do something like this.
"I am really saddened by this. In fact, this is what is really killing me spiritually inside. That girl was trying to save my daughter's life.
"It is really hurting that she has now been blamed to an extent that she tried to take her own life.
"I hope social workers find a safe place for her so that she can carry on with her studies. I just hope and pray that this is not the end of her dreams and aspirations."
The mother has been humbled by the support she is getting from across the country.
She added: "It means there are a lot of people out there with good hearts who are on my side.
"I would have thrown myself to a lion to protect my daughter, and I am sure many mothers would have done the same.
"I truly appreciate all the support I have been getting. It has made me strong," she said.
Two elderly women from the village praised the mother.
One said: "We hope this is going to be a lesson to other would-be rapists. If only all three of them had died. They have been raping elderly women and killing them," alleged one of them.
Another said: "This incident will make them think twice before they commit such crimes again.
"We have been living in fear in this village for a long time because of these heinous crimes. We salute that woman for what she did. She was driven by a mother's instinct and was very brave."
Thembalomzi Busakhwe, chair of the community police forum in the village, said the three alleged perpetrators were known troublemakers.
He said the dead man had been accused of robbing a local shop earlier this month.
He said:"There is a huge problem of alcohol and drug abuse in this village. One can say without a shadow of a doubt that this case was fuelled by such elements.
"In this village, there are so many unlicensed shebeens that are open all the time".
The woman was hailed a heroine in her home village but there was huge anger shortly after when she was charged with murder and two attempted murders and taken before a court.
The desperately poor woman who lives in a tiny two room shack with her daughter and grand daughter and two others was freed by Lady Frere Magistrates Court on bail of R500 (£30).
But unable to afford a good defence, a fighting fund was set up by Cape Town resident Natalie Kendrick to help the Lion Mama with her legal fees which stands already at R20,000 (£1,175).
Attorney Buhle Tonise came forward and announced she will be representing the accused mother free of charge after reading about the story in print and would enter a not guilty plea defence.
She said: "When it comes to being human, it would not be proper to take any money. The money would be better used for counselling for the mother and her daughter who are in a fragile state".
"It can also be used to build a fence around their home as safety is a serious problem" she said.
In total 110 rapes are reported in South Africa every day, but experts believe the true figure could be as much as four times higher, with many too scared to report it.
A study claimed that 40 per cent of women are likely to be raped in their lifetime in South Africa.
Source: NZ World Herald