No bail in granny rape case

2012-08-08 00:00

NEW Hanover magistrate Verushka Jamuna yesterday refused bail for Ntuthuko Ndlela (28), who faces three charges, including housebreaking and rape of a 94-year-old woman in her home at KwaSwayimane in the early hours of July 21.

He is also charged with sexually assaulting a woman aged 46 two weeks earlier on July 10 by “dragging her into the bush and telling her he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her”, prosecutor J.K. Maphumulo told the court.

Maphumulo said Ndlela frightened the victim into believing she was going to be sexually violated.

He is also charged with theft of the woman’s cellphone.

Despite the icy cold and rain yesterday, the court was packed to capacity.

Ndlela himself gave no sign of feeling the cold, dressed in a short-sleeved white golf shirt, blue tracksuit pants and scruffy takkies.

In his testimony, Ndela denied committing the offences and complained that he had been assaulted by police while in custody.

In reply to questions by his legal aid attorney, Xolani Cele, Ndlela said he did not know either of the two women he is alleged to have attacked, and if the case went to trial he intended to plead not guilty.

He said he would be able to stay in Durban with a relative if given bail, and he believed his brother could pay bail for him in the amount of R1 500, even though he was not at court yesterday.

Ndela said he lived with the mother of his only child in Haniville. His girlfriend was ill and could not work, he said. He was temporarily employed building houses at the time of his arrest.

Jamuna found that Ndlela had not shown that his release was in the interests of justice, and said that according to the evidence of police Brigadier Clifford Marion (who is in charge of all investigations in the Midlands) there was a strong case for him to answer.

Ndlela was identified by witnesses on a police identity parade, according to Marion’s evidence.

There was also evidence that he had committed the offences while on parole. According to a police “profile”, he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for theft in February this year and was released in March on parole.

The profile said Ndlela also has a previous conviction for housebreaking and theft and was charged on about seven other occasions.

He changed his name, using a variety of aliases, and had provided police with five different dates of birth, Marion testified.

Jamuna said that if convicted of the present crimes, Ndlela could expect a substantial sentence, possibly even life imprisonment.

She also took into account that if released on bail he might intimidate witnesses, albeit in a “passive” way, and the fact that when a person faced the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence the temptation to abscond increased.

Jamuna said the court also could not ignore the ages of two of the vulnerable witnesses in the case — the 94-year-old rape victim and her 10-year-old grandson — nor could she distance herself from the current “epidemic of crime”.

“This case in particular has reached the ears of the entire country …

“It has been reported in newspapers, on television and radio stations, and never before has this court in particular had so many people attend in the public gallery, all of whom have an interest in this matter.”

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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