Double life sentence for man who raped, burned girl

2015-11-24 17:40
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Pretoria - A child rapist and killer was on Tuesday sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria to life imprisonment for his heinous deeds.

Ben Maselane, 32, a Winterveld father of three children, was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for the February 2007 rape and murder of 7-year-old Sibongile Chauke. He was sentenced to a further 12 years for breaking into the child's home in Soshanguve and kidnapping her.

Sibongile was hanged from a pole by the shoelace still used to strangle her, before Maselane started a fire beneath her, burning the girl beyond recognition.

This sentence follows just two weeks after Sarel du Toit of Brakpan was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping and murdering his 4-year-old niece Jasmin Pretorius.

Maselane did not testify, but said in a statement he had decided to break into the house of the girl's father that night after drinking several cups of tea with methylated spirits.

He thought no one was home when he dug a hole under the corrugated into the house, but when he saw the 7-year-old lying asleep "almost naked" next to her brother, he decided to rape her.

He took the girl from the house and took her to a deserted spot in the veld where he first violently raped her and then strangled her with a shoelace.

He said the reason for killing her was because he realised she recognised him as the man who had worked for her father before.

Cruel and barbaric

He then hung the Sibongile's body from a pole by the shoelace still tied around her neck. He gathered a used tyre and other combustible material and started a fire underneath her.

Maselane said he volunteered when the community started searching for Sibongile and led them to the place where he burnt her.

Asking for life imprisonment, the prosecution submitted that Sibongile's body was burnt beyond recognition and the state had to use DNA to confirm her identity.

Judge Mahomed Ismail, who sentenced Maselane, said these type of crimes could not be tolerated in any civilised society.

He said it appeared that the government's valiant efforts to educate people not to commit such crimes and regular marches opposing violence against women and children seemed to have failed, as this type of crime was spiralling out of control.

Describing the crimes as cruel and barbaric, the judge said Maselane had not only violated and killed his victim, but also burnt her "like a witch at a stake".

No family members of either Maselane or Sibongile were in court to hear his sentence. The girl's mother was unable to attend because she had to work.

The child was left alone at home with her 11-year-old brother on the night of her murder.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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