Alerted by raped teen’s cries

2009-08-06 00:00

A WOMAN who lives alongside a gravel road near Azalea Cemetery in Willowfountain told the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday that she awoke in the early hours of October 20, 2007, to the sound of a car and then a girl crying.

Thembi Zungu testified that she sat on her bed listening and looked at her watch. It was 1.30 am. She remained where she was and at 4.30 am she went outside to investigate. She then found a young girl, semi-naked, lying injured, almost in the drain alongside the gravel road.

”I said to her I am a female and I am here to assist you … she was lying face down folding her arms. When I said I was there to assist her, she cried and said I should turn her over. I turned her over and she was hurt,” said Zungu.

She said other people had come to help and an ambulance was called. A woman covered the injured girl with a blanket.

The girl gave them her mother’s phone number and someone telephoned her.

”She never said anything about what had happened to her,” Zungu told Acting Judge Kobus Booyens and two assessors.

Describing the noises she had heard in the night, Zungu said she was awoken by her boyfriend, who asked her if she could hear a car. She could hear the sound of a car that was stationary, but had its engine running. She also heard the car doors closing and then the sound of the vehicle driving away.

“After the vehicle drove away I could hear a female crying outside,” she said.

Zungu was giving evidence for the state at the trial of Sibusiso Derrick Duma (24), who has pleaded not guilty to 19 counts of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, rape and robbery arising from five separate incidents in Pietermaritzburg and Hillcrest in September and October 2007. At the time Duma was a taxi operator.

The state alleges that Duma and an accomplice raped a 17-year-old Pietermaritzburg scholar at gunpoint at Azalea Cemetery on October 20 that year, after shooting and wounding her two male companions.

Then they tried to kill the rape victim by running over her with their vehicle. They left her for dead.

The young woman testified on Tuesday that she had pretended to be dead. She sustained multiple injuries.

She did not identify her assailants, but yesterday one of the young men who had been with her when they were accosted in Imbali said he recognised Duma as the man who shot him.

He told the court he would have recognised him even if he was seated in the public gallery.

The court heard that before reaching the cemetery the two young men were shot and wounded by the driver of a maroon Polo who had forced them into the vehicle at gunpoint and drove off with them at high speed. After shooting them he then drove off with the teenager.

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