Graveyard rapist admits all

2009-07-22 00:00

A 35-YEAR-OLD man, who is already serving two life sentences for the murders of former Witness journalist Elaine Anderson and Patricia Kippen during attempted hijackings in 2007, admitted in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday that six days later he and his companion took turns raping a teenage girl at Azalea Cemetery and then drove their car back and forth over her in an attempt to kill her.

The critically injured girl (aged 17) survived, but a medical report details several fractures, abrasions and lacerations she suffered as a result, including fractured arms and a leg.

One of her assailants, Simphiwe Christopher Khesi, pleaded guilty before Judge Fikile Mokgohloa to five charges yesterday, including rape and attempted murder of the girl.

He also pleaded guilty to the attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances of two young men who were with her — Tsepo Mhlongo and Linda Jali — who according to his statement were both shot and wounded by his companion, Sibusiso Derrick Duma, before they drove to the cemetery where they gang-raped the teen.

State advocate Attie Truter has urged the court to impose the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment on Khesi on the rape charge.

“It is inconceivable to think that a person would go to that extent to kill another human being,” he said, referring to the manner Khesi and his accomplice drove backwards and forwards over the girl after raping her, and then left her for dead.

Khesi’s lawyer, Eric Zaca, urged the court to take into account that Khesi had been drinking that night, and that he showed remorse by pleading guilty. He said Khesi was previously employed as a taxi conductor and he has two children whose mother has died.

The judge said she will sentence Khesi on July 29 in the high court in Durban.

In his statement to the court Khesi said he was at home on the night in question — October 20, 2007 — when Duma arrived in a VW Polo with an unknown person. They went to Linda’s Tavern in Imbali and drank for “about two hours”.

Khesi said after a while he and Duma left. As they were driving along Sinkwazi Road they saw two “young men and a female person”. Duma stopped next to them, jumped out and drew a firearm. He ordered the trio into the car. They complied.

“Duma told me that we must rob these three complainants for us to get more alcohol and I agreed to his suggestion.”

He said at Unit 18 Duma got out of the car, ordered the two young men out and shot both of them. They then drove to Azalea Cemetery with the young girl.

There, Duma ordered her to get out of the car and followed her. He told Khesi that he was “raping” the girl.

“As I was sitting in the car, although I could not see them as they were behind the car, but I could hear that Duma was raping [her],” he said.

Khesi said Duma came back and told him it was his turn.

He said he went to the girl, who was lying behind the car, and also raped her. He left her lying there and got back into the vehicle.

“Duma drove the car backward and forward over [her] body and we left her there thinking she was dead. Whilst we were driving away Duma told me that he got a cellphone and cash … from the complainants,” Khesi said.


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