Murdered rape victim’s mother died of grief

2013-12-19 00:00

THE mother of a 14-year-old Pietermaritzburg schoolgirl who was gang-raped and murdered in Mountain Rise cemetery on July 26, 2011 was emotionally sickened to the extent that she died in October this year.

This is according to Felington Xaba, father of the victim Nomathemba Babongile Xaba, a Grade 5 pupil at Mthethomusha Primary school in Edendale.

Acting Judge Madlala Xolo yesterday jailed Kyrone Spalding (22) and Matthew Rooi (19) of Woodlands each to effective 18-year jail sentences for their respective roles, and a 16-year-old youth to 10 years’ imprisonment, four years of which he will serve at the Ekhuseni Youth Centre.

Xaba told a social worker who took a victim impact statement from him that his daughter’s death left a “huge and deep” hole in his heart.

He was not at court yesterday to see his daughter’s killers being sentenced.

Meanwhile, relatives of her rapists and her killer said they didn’t want to comment on the case, which had been “humiliating” for them.

All three were convicted of rape, but only Rooi was found guilty of the teen’s murder, after he did an about-turn and admitted he was the person who had killed Xaba by beating her with his fists and kicking her.

She died of a brain haemorrhage.

Xolo said the circumstances of the case were tragic. Two of the perpetrators, including Rooi, were juveniles when they accosted and attacked the girl who’d taken a short cut through the cemetery.

The judge found that compelling and substantial circumstances justifying less than the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment for the gang rape of the child, did however, exist.

These were the youth and immaturity of the accused, the fact that the attack happened impulsively and wasn’t premeditated, and that alcohol had been involved.

He said it was evident from a social worker’s report that all three accused were “not properly brought up” and abused alcohol and drugs.

Rooi and the youth had both spent some time in a children’s home, and were described as “problem” children.

He rejected submissions that any of the accused felt genuine remorse for what they’d done.

In his view, long prison terms were the only appropriate sentences for each of the accused, he said.

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