Murder, rapes: killer of girl (9) convicted

2010-12-21 00:00

HOWICK resident Faizel Sayed (35) was found guilty yesterday of the kidnapping, rape and murder of nine-year-old Nombuso Nhlangulela during the course of a violent rape spree involving eight other victims in 2008.

She went missing outside Howick Secondary School on February 28, 2008. Her body was found tied to a tree in Howick on March 3. She died of asphyxiation as a result of a sock that was stuffed into her mouth and a plastic bag that was pulled over her head, and she had been raped.

Sayed was acquitted of two charges of rape arising from an alleged assault on a young Zimbabwean woman who left the country and was not available to testify at the trial.

Acting Judge Ben van Heerden, sitting with two assessors, will today consider submissions on sentencing by state advocate Ian Cooke and defence advocate Louis Barnard.

Sayed stands convicted of one count of murder, five of kidnapping, 17 counts of rape, and three counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances involving eight adolescents and young women. All these incidents occurred between April and June 2008.

All the victims were assaulted in a forested area near Liberty Midlands Mall after being lured by Sayed with offers of jobs.

Two victims were abducted and forced into vehicles driven by unknown accomplices of Sayed. After being dropped off they were forced to accompany Sayed into a forest and were violently raped. Some of Sayed’s victims were threatened with a knife.

Van Heerden said not all of the were viewed by the court as “impressive” witnesses.

However, the court had regard to the similarities of their versions and corroboration provided by other witnesses as well medical evidence in convicting Sayed and rejecting his claim that all but one of the complainants consented to have sexual intercourse with him.

Concerning the kidnapping, murder and rape of Nombuso Nhlangulela, the judge said the evidence against Sayed was circumstantial.

This included evidence that DNA matching that of Sayed’s blood was found when tests were conducted on semen samples obtained from a blouse allegedly worn by the child during the incident.

This evidence — which was disputed by the defence — was accepted by the court.

The judge said the presence of Sayed’s DNA on the samples cut from the blouse and other factors presented a strong case that he committed the crimes.

As with all the other victims in the case, Nombuso was a young African girl, was abducted and held in captivity and raped. She too was raped in an “obscene and decadent manner”, similar to the decadence involved in other rapes.

Sayed chose not to give evidence at his trial.

Although the court did not find this to be indicative of guilt, the judge said it further strengthened the state’s case and the complainants’ evidence (that they did not consent to have sex with Sayed) thereafter stood “unchallenged and uncontradicted”.

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