Cemetery rapist gets life plus 40

2009-07-30 00:00

HIGH court Judge Fikile Mokgohloa yesterday described as “horrifying” the rape of a 17-year-old schoolgirl at Azalea cemetery by two men who drove their vehicle repeatedly over the victim and left her for dead in October 2007.

She suffered multiple injuries and fractures.

Mokgohloa sentenced one of the assailants — Simphiwe Christopher Khesi (35) — to life imprisonment for the rape and to 10 years’ imprisonment for attempted murder of the victim.

She sentenced him to a further 30 years’ imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances and the attempted murder of the young girl’s two male companions. The two were forced out of the vehicle, shot and wounded before the rape. All the sentences will run concurrently with the life term.

The rape and other crimes were committed on October 20, 2007, just days after Khesi and his accomplice shot dead former Witness journalist Elaine Anderson and Patricia Kippen of Pietermaritzburg in two separate attempted hijackings.

Khesi and Sibusiso Derrick Duma are currently serving two life sentences for the murders of Anderson and Kippen.

Mokgohloa said these and Khesi’s other previous convictions, including one for rape in 1999, were an indication that he had chosen crime as a career.

Mokgohloa said Khesi’s attorney, Eric Zaca, urged the court to find as mitigating the fact that he pleaded guilty to the rape, robbery and attemp­ted murder charges, that he had drunk liquor on the night in question and that he played a more “minimal” role than Duma in the offences. He is also prepared to testify at Duma’s trial, which is scheduled to start next week.

In his statement to the court, Khesi said that after Duma raped the young girl behind the car at Azalea Cemetery, he got back into the vehicle and told Khesi it was now “his turn”.

Khesi then raped the teen. When he got back into the car Duma drove over the girl, and they left her for dead.

The judge found Khesi was not genuinely remorseful, but hoped to gain some advantage from pleading guilty. She said that in her view, he had “seen the writing on the wall”.

The judge said the mere fact that a person pleaded guilty is not always an indication of sincere remorse.

In order to determine if he was genuinely remorseful, the court had to look at his actions after the rape.

“After Duma took him home, what did he do to show his remorse? Did he go and report the incident to the police? They just left the victim in the graveyard thinking she was dead,” she said.

Mokgohloa said it is possible that liquor affected Khesi’s judgment, but in his statement he said he was aware of the wrongfulness of his actions and had formed a common purpose with Duma to commit the crimes.

She also did not accept that he played a minimal role, finding that he had acted “just like Duma” by raping the victim.

In his guilty plea, Khesi said he and Duma consumed alcohol at a tavern in Imbali on the night in question for about “two hours”.

After they left and while driving along Sinkwazi Road, they saw the teenager and her companions.

Duma stopped the car and, at gunpoint, ordered the trio into the car.

He said they must rob them for money for more alcohol.

At Unit 18 Duma ordered the men out of the car, shot both of them and they then drove to the cemetery where they raped the girl.

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