‘Facebook rapist’ in tears

2011-10-14 11:08

“Facebook rapist” Thabo Bester burst into tears in the Durban Magistrates Court today when explaining what led him to commit crime.

He told the court he had been raped by his grandmother’s friend when he was young, as raped several times by a man who promised to look after him, and was gang-raped in prison.

Bester, who has pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and two of armed robbery with aggravating circumstances, was addressing the court on the mitigation of his sentence.

He said he had never seen his mother and that he lived under excruciating conditions with his alcoholic grandmother and grandfather on a farm in Gauteng.

The situation became worse when his grandmother died and he had to live with his friends in the squatter camp.

He said he was then approached by a man who promised to look after him but locked him in his house for days and raped him.

Bester, who burst into tears several times, said he had told his grandmother about the abuse and that it was like talking to a wall.

“My grandmother’s friend hurt me when he raped me and I had an operation on my behind,” he said.

He said the difficulties he encountered forced him to commit crime.

“I resorted to crime to support myself. It is either you die or make a plan,” he said.

He was found guilty of fraud in 2009 and sentenced to six months with an option of paying a R1 500 fine.

“I did not have money to pay. They treated me badly in prison because they thought I was from a well-off family,” he said.

He was gang-raped and a bottle with soapy water was inserted into his anus while he was in prison, he said.

The report about his prison abuse was presented in court today but it only referred to the abuse and not about the rape.

Trying to persuade the court to give him a lesser sentence, Bester said he needed a second chance. “I know I have done terrible things. This is not truly who I am. I want the opportunity to make things right,” he said.

He said if the court felt that he did not deserve mercy, he would accept it.

During cross-examination, State prosecutor Lolly Soobramany asked Bester why he did not hand himself over after he had contacted the investigating officer.

Bester said he became scared after he saw the story about him splashed in all the newspapers.

Bester said he wanted to hand himself over, but ran after the story was published. He said he knew he was sought across the country for crimes including murder.

Soobramany described Bester as a danger to society, saying what he did caused trauma to his victims which they would experience for the rest of their lives.

She said Bester enjoyed the high life and even boasted on the social network.

The trial continues.

Bester – known previously as “Thomas”, one of numerous aliases – was arrested last Wednesday in Alberton, south of Johannesburg.
He was dubbed the “Facebook rapist” because he used new media, including Facebook, to lure women.

He told them international modelling scouts were interested in them.

Bester would then rape and rob the women at knife-point. Bester was expected to be taken to Gauteng at the weekend to face other charges there.

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