Teen tells how he raped his employer

2008-06-23 00:00

An 18-year-old man, Sanele Alex Mtolo, admitted in the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday that he raped a 46-year-old woman in her bed after breaking into her home in the Himeville district at night, but denied that he was responsible for strangling her to death.

Mtolo admitted before Judge Jan Hugo and an assessor that he “squeezed” the victim’s throat during the rape to “prevent her fighting back”, and said he put a bandage round her neck and pulled on it once, but claimed that when he left her the woman was still alive.

Mtolo pleaded not guilty to her murder for that reason, and also denied that he robbed her (a crime involving violence), but was prepared to plead guilty to the theft of her cellphone, which he took on his way out of her bedroom.

State advocate Irene Neyt accepted Mtolo’s plea of guilty to rape, but said the state contends he is also guilty of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. She said she will ask the court to draw an inference from the evidence that Mtolo was the only person who could have caused the victim’s death. Evidence will also show that he suffered scratches on his face and that the victim bit his tongue.

The state alleges that Mtolo was employed by the victim as a general labourer and decided to rob, rape and kill her at a time when she would be alone.

On the night of July 12, 2007, he entered her home and found her asleep. He allegedly overpowered her, raped her and then strangled her. Before leaving he took her cellphone.

In his statement to court, Mtolo said he had attended a traditional ceremony with four friends on the night in question, where he drank alcohol. At about 11 pm he went to the victim’s home as he knew she would be alone and he wanted to have sex with her.

Mtolo said the doors were locked and he opened a window to gain entry. He found the woman asleep in her bedroom. She woke up when he removed the blanket covering her.

He said he started to rape her and while doing so put his hands around her throat and squeezed.

He said she continued to fight him throughout the rape. He then put a bandage around her neck and pulled on the ends once. He then got out of bed.

“Although the deceased tried to hit me, I never hit the deceased,” he said.

Mtolo said that when he left the room the woman was still alive. “I say so because the deceased took the blanket and covered herself after I put the bandage around her neck. I believed that the deceased was going back to sleep,” he said.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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