Ottawa Citizen
Thursday April 27, 2000

Feminist icon Germaine Greer assaulted, held hostage, by female student

The Ottawa Citizen

LONDON (AP) - Feminist writer Germaine Greer was held hostage over Easter weekend by a female student who broke into her home, Essex police said Wednesday.

Police received a call shortly after 10 p.m. Monday complaining of an intruder at Greer's isolated mansion in Great Chesterford in southern England.

Karen Burke, 19, from Bath in southwest England, was arrested at the scene and charged with assault and unlawful imprisonment, said Acting Insp. Bernie Tomsett. She is to appear in court May 4.

Greer, 61, was "badly shaken" but was not injured during the incident, Britain's Press Association reported, quoting police sources.

She was reportedly tied up and her home was vandalized with a fireplace poker. Police were alerted by three of Greer's friends, who had been invited to dinner and heard shouting from inside the house, Press Association said. Police did not say how long she was held hostage.

Greer first made headlines in 1970 with her landmark treatise on feminism, The Female Eunuch. More recently, she wrote The Whole Woman, which deals with the state of the women's movement.

Greer, an Australian-born professor, was not available for comment. However, she wrote a column for the Daily Telegraph newspaper in which she said she felt uneasy about strangers.

"I have no signs saying Private Property or Keep Out or Trespassers will be prosecuted, but the mad glint in my eyes is meant to speak volumes," Greer wrote in the article, expected to be published Saturday.

The column was released by the Press Association.

© The Canadian Press, 2000

Copyright 2000 Ottawa Citizen