No remorse for attack

2014-04-24 00:00

A POIGNANT poem penned by a little girl, expressing her torment over being raped, disembowelled and left for dead three years ago, drew no sign of emotion from her attacker yesterday.

Thembinkosi Mshini Manyoni (30), of Taylor’s Halt, stared unflinchingly at regional magistrate Jennifer Anthoo as she read the tragic poem by his victim to him yesterday, shortly before she sentenced him to life plus 15 years’ imprisonment for the “atrocious” attack.

Titled “Fear of a dark room”, the child wrote to her attacker, telling him he’d destroyed a beautiful room “full of light, joy and happiness” and turned it into a “dark evil room”.

“The bed that was full of red roses is now full of red blood. I dare not look at that mirror I see a sad girl tears dropping down …” she wrote.

Anthoo told Manyoni he did not show an “iota of remorse” throughout his trial, and none even now.

In her opinion, there was little likelihood he could be rehabilitated, she said.

Anthoo agreed with prosecutor Ricky van Wyk that the attack fell into the “very worst” category of rape there is, considering the terrible injuries inflicted on the victim, who was only nine years old at the time.

The attack took place on August 27, 2011.

The doctor who’d treated the little girl testified it was “nothing short of a miracle” that she had survived her terrible injuries.

“He remembered the case clearly because it was so atrocious,” said Anthoo.

The court had viewed the physical scars the girl bears from being stabbed on both arms, the “potentially lethal and deep” stab wounds inflicted on both sides of her neck, and a knife wound starting from below her breast and ending at her groin.

“This was indeed a heinous offence. I have never seen or heard of any injuries like these. One can only imagine the trauma that she [the child] went through,” said Anthoo.

She said the victim — who was placed in foster care after the incident due to her mother’s negligence in leaving her and her younger siblings alone at home when the attack happened — had lain in pain and bleeding profusely through the night until she was able to get help in the morning.

The younger children with her were also traumatised.

Anthoo said evidence revealed the girl would carry the physical and mental scars of her ordeal for the rest of her life.

“She has had to pick up the pieces and go back to school, but she still suffers. She told a probation officer that she gets sick a lot and had to miss school for a week at times. This was because her stomach would get swollen near the part where she had stitches …

“Sometimes she would feel different when talking among her peers and she cried a lot. What helped her was that someone told her to write down her feelings on paper and then burn it.”

Anthoo said the child told the probation officer she feels she has lost a piece of her life and had cried while making her report.

“It was clear to the probation officer that the complainant was more comfortable writing down her feelings than expressing them verbally, because she would break down emotionally,” the judge said.

Anthoo added she took into account all submissions made in Manyoni’s favour by his attorney, Amsha Narayan, but could find nothing to justify less than the minimum prescribed sentence.

In addition to the sentence of life plus 15 years’ imprisonment (to run concurrently), Anthoo also ordered that Manyoni’s name be placed on the national register of sex offenders, and ruled that he is unfit to possess a firearm.

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