Teenager guilty of multiple rapes

2010-06-18 00:00

HIGH court Judge Anton van Zyl yesterday convicted Njabulo Mbhele (19) of raping a 12-year-old girl three times, of sexually assaulting the girl’s nine-year-old sister and of twice raping a woman the girls referred to as their grandmother.

Mbhele was also found guilty by the high court in Pietermaritzburg of housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstan­ces in connection with the incident in Northdale on the night of February 21, 2009.

Van Zyl and two assessors found there was overwhelming evidence identifying Mbhele as the perpetrator of the crimes.

Even though the lighting in the house was “difficult” as it was candlelight, the witnesses all had ample time to observe the intruder at close quarters, and all “confidently asserted” the culprit was Mbhele, he said.

The victims gave “graphic” evidence of the manner in which they were violated and raped. Their evidence was supported by medical findings and scienti­fic evidence after DNA found on swabs taken from the victims matched that of Mbhele’s.

Mbhele did not testify or offer any explanation as to how his DNA got there.

Judge van Zyl said a third category of evidence linking Mbhele to the offences was “self-incriminatory”.

Mbhele directed police to the place where the knife used to threaten the victims — described as having a black handle and shiny blade — was reco­vered.

It was found in an area where the brother of the two girls — who was in effect taken hostage by Mbhele — indicated that he and Mbhele parted company.

In addition, the court accep­ted into evidence a confession made by Mbhele to a magistrate, in which he said he met a friend earlier that night who gave him a pipe to smoke with a “white powder”.

“I do not know what it was. It was the first time I smoked it,” he said.

He later took a kitchen knife from his room and proceeded to the home of the victims, which was known to him.

“I tapped at the burglar gate. It was locked. I pulled it and forced it open. I used my hands … I wanted money to find something to smoke. That is to say, more of that white powder, and alcohol.

“After pulling the gate open, I kicked the door open. It was around 10 pm. I was alone.”

Mbhele said he asked an “old African lady”, who was there with two girls, for money.

The girls, he said, were about nine years old and 15 to 16 years.

“The old lady offered to give me a camera and a bank card and the pin number …

“I put these things down on the floor and raised the knife in a stabbing position. I pointed it at the old lady and, at that moment, I, on the spur of the moment, decided to rape them. I did not plan to do it,” he said.

Mbhele described in his statement how, when he called the “smallest” girl to him and “tried to rape” her, the old lady screamed for him to leave her as she was a young child.

He stopped before raping the older woman.

Sentencing is expected today.

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