'Lock rapists away for good'

By Drum Digital
19 July 2012

Two men who raped two women paramedics should be taken from their own children and locked away for good, the High Court in Johannesburg heard on Thursday.

"Giving minimum sentences to the accused would be a mockery of the justice system," prosecutor Phumeza Fhutshane said during sentencing proceedings.

Fhutshane told the court the two should each be sentenced to 70 years in prison.

Richard Tshifhiwa Luruli, 29, and Michael Khorombi, 30, raped the two paramedics when they responded to an emergency call to help a toddler with burn wounds in Durban Deep, Roodepoort, in March 2010.

They were found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm, eight counts of rape, and two counts of compelling another to commit a sexual offence.

The number of rape counts stemmed from various forms of sexual assault the two men had been charged with.

Their lawyer, Mohale Lebea, told the court that Luruli and Khorombi, both unemployed, had one child each. The children lived in Venda with their mothers.

Fhutshane asked: "How can fathers do such horrific crimes? Their children will have better lives with their mothers and relatives, not with them."

The two also have previous convictions. In 2007 Luruli was convicted of robbery and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Khorombi was convicted of theft, housebreaking, and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in 2004.

Fhutshane said the burnt toddler was robbed of the last help she could have received that night. She said one of the victims, identified only as "Miss T" had told her how her daughter had become detached from her since the crime. She was served with divorce papers soon after the rape.

"The second victim, Miss R, says she and her husband are still struggling to cope and move on."

Judge Sherise Erica Wiener was expected to sentence the pair later on Thursday.

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