Man who raped his two young daughters escapes life sentence

2009-10-07 00:00

THE high court in Pietermaritzburg has confirmed the conviction of a middle-aged man who repeatedly raped both of his daughters over a period of more than two years after they had turned five years old.

The rapist, who is from Amathikwe in the Verulam district and who was described at his trial as a pastor, did, however, succeed in having his sentence changed from life imprisonment to an effective 24 years in jail.

He cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his children.

Judge Anton van Zyl, with Judge Mohini Murugasen concurring, ordered that the man must serve 16 years of his jail sentence before he can be considered for parole.

The appeal court found that the fact that the man had no previous convictions at the time of the trial is mitigating, and Van Zyl said the court had to consider the effect a life sentence will have on a man who is already close to 50 years old.

It effectively meant he would spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The judge said that while it is necessary to emphasise the seriousness of what the accused has done, it is the view of the appeal court that life imprisonment at his age is excessive.

Advocate Jan du Plessis, for the state, earlier submitted that it is “one of the most disgusting cases of rape” he has encountered.

During legal argument, Van Zyl remarked that words “fail to express the revulsion one feels” about the man’s conduct.

Medical evidence supported the version of both girls, which was accepted as the truth.

Van Zyl said the picture of the accused that emerged from the evidence was that of a “father figure in the family who was dictatorial and oppressive”.

Evidence revealed he would threaten or subject his wife, the children’s mother, to violence and chase her out of the house overnight when he would rape his daughters, or would force himself on one or the other while she was away at work during the day.

The rapes were discovered when, one day in November 2006, the mother returned home and found the youngest child crying.

The child revealed the abuse, which was then corroborated by her older sibling.

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