Life term likely for rapist murderer

2010-12-22 00:00

THE state and defence in the trial of Faizel Sayed (37) were in agreement yesterday that in terms of minimum sentencing laws, the high court is obliged to impose life imprisonment on him for the 2008 rape and murder of nine-year-old Nombuso Nhlangulela in Howick.

In addition, the prosecution has asked that a sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment be imposed on Sayed for kidnapping the little girl. She was held captive from the date of her disappearance on February 28 to March 3 when she was killed.

According to evidence at the trial she died of asphyxiation after a sock was stuffed into her mouth and a plastic bag pulled over her head. She was found tied to a tree in Howick. She had been raped and Sayed’s DNA was linked to semen samples on a shirt she was wearing when her body was found.

Defence advocate Louis Barnard conceded in his submissions to Acting Judge Ben van Heerden and two assessors yesterday that “no one could argue their way out of a life sentence” in respect of the rape and murder of the little girl.

However, while state advocate Ian Cooke yesterday urged the court to also impose life sentences on Sayed in connection with the majority of the further multiple violent rapes he perpetrated, Barnard submitted that life imprisonment was not necessarily called for in respect of the other rapes.

In support of his argument, Barnard quoted from various cases in which the Supreme Court of Appeals reduced or upheld sentences of less than life imprisonment for rapes involving severe violence.

He urged the court to take into account in the present case that although several victims testified that Sayed had been armed with a knife with which he threatened them, he had not stabbed them, despite perpetrating other acts of violence on them. One complainant also mentioned he had a gun.

Sayed has previous convictions for car theft and was on parole when he committed the present crimes. But Barnard urged the court to regard Sayed as a first offender as far as the rape charges were concerned.

On the other hand, Cooke urged the court to take note of Sayed’s lack of remorse for his crimes.

At his bail application he had put up a false alibi, and after realising that he was linked to most of the rapes by way of DNA, he changed his version to claim the victims had consented to have sex with him.

He is expected to be sentenced today.

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