18 years for mechanic who kicked, strangled ex girlfriend to death

2016-05-04 19:30
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Pretoria - A Roodepoort mechanic who kicked and strangled his former girlfriend to death after seeing her sitting in a car with another man has been sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria to 18 years imprisonment.

Judge Eben Jordaan, who described the attack as the most brutal assault he had seen in his life, sentenced 44-year-old businessman Robert Rambao to 22 years imprisonment, of which he has to serve 18 years.

The charges were murder, kidnapping and using a client's car without permission.

Rambao was the owner of a panel-beating business in Roodepoort.

He pleaded guilty to the charges. He said in a statement he was very angry when he forced his former girlfriend Neo Winnie Thobejane into the car and later attacked her by throttling, punching and repeatedly kicking her before leaving her unconscious in the veld.

"I know what I did was wrong... I had no right to kill the deceased and have no justifiable excuse in doing so.

"I regret my actions and I am truly sorry about what I have done. I apologise for my actions and beg for forgiveness and mercy for my wrong actions," he said in a statement.

Severe internal bleeding

Rambao also told Thobejane's family he was sorry after he was sentenced, but they were unwilling to forgive him and accused him of planning the murder.

A pathologist said in a report that Thobejane had died of severe multiple blunt force injuries and external pressure to her neck. She had severe internal bleeding in several organs, including the brain.

Thobejane was the mother of Rambao's two young children and was employed by a civil engineering firm as a senior quantity surveyor in Hammanskraal, where the firm was improving infrastructure.

She had left Rambao and obtained a final protection order against him a week before she was murdered. She stated at the time that Rambao had repeatedly assaulted her and threatened to kill her and leave her body in the veld.

Her employer, Khoto Civil, employed a senior advocate to assist her family after it appeared that Rambao might have plans to flee the country.

Growing up without a mother

They described Thobejane as an extremely hard-working and valuable employee and said they had employed the advocate to ensure that justice was done.

Rambao's 12-year-old daughter said in a moving letter she hoped Rambao received a very long sentence.

The girl said she and her 6-year-old brother had a very happy life with their mother and had everything they needed, but now had to grow up without her because of Rambao's actions.

She said it was "not a very good feeling" to live without their mother.

The children are being raised by Thobejane's parents.

The murdered surveyor's sister said in a letter that Rambao had never shown any remorse and the family could not come to terms with Thobejane's murder.

Jordaan said it was clear that Rambao had not acted on the spur of the moment and that it must have been an ongoing assault. He had literally kicked and strangled her to death.

The fact that the body was found some distance from the car showed that she must have fled from Rambao before he caught up with her.

The post mortem showed that she had not died instantaneously because there was bleeding into her organs and brain, he said.

Jordaan said it was "probable in the extreme" that Rambao had planned the murder in advance, but he could not make such a finding beyond a reasonable doubt.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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