‘Take me instead’ — granny

2009-10-21 00:00

A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl testified yesterday that when a knife-wielding rapist had difficulty in raping her earlier this year, her grandmother intervened and urged him to take her instead. He obliged.

The child gave detailed evidence through an intermediary in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday at the trial of Njabulo Mbhele (19) who has pleaded not guilty to housebreaking, robbery with aggravating circumstances and multiple rapes of the nine-year-old, her 12-year-old sister and the woman they call their grandmother at their Northdale home on February 21.

The court was told the girls’ brother was present during the incident. He was allegedly later forced to accompany the assailant to help draw cash from his grandmother’s bank card.

The family was told that if there was no money they would find the boy “in a sewerage tank”.

According to the evidence of the nine-year-old, her elder sister was raped five times and her grandmother twice during the ordeal.

The girl did not identify the attacker during her evidence, but gave a detailed description of his clothing. She said he wore a pink shirt, black trousers and black suede shoes.

When her sister cried out, the rapist told her to be quiet and said the noise was “an annoyance”, the girl said.

She told the court when he tried to rape her too he had difficulty and it was “very painful”.

“My grandmother said to him that he should rather do that to her and not to me as I am still such a small child,” she said. “He told me to get dressed.”

She said he took a jacket that belonged to an “uncle” and told her and her sister to cover themselves. He then raped their grandmother for the first time.

The girl agreed under cross-examination by defence advocate Wynand Bezuidenhout that she was “terrified” throughout the ordeal, which lasted until the early hours of the morning.

She testified that she and her siblings were woken by their grandmother who said there was a person in the house.

There was no light on and the person entered and lit a lamp. He said he wanted them to see him “even when he’s being sought by the police”.

The girl said the intruder carried a knife with a black handle and threatened them with it.

“He was telling us he was going to stab us with the knife,” she said.

The man took some of her brother’s ties and belts and bound their hands together.

He then untied her sister and raped her for the first time. He did so twice in front of all of them.

The girl said then he ordered the females to go to another room, leaving her brother alone. There he again raped them in turn.

The girl said at various stages they re-joined her brother, and were again all tied up, except for her sister. The attacker also put pieces of cloth into their mouths so that they “could not shout”, but removed the gags again.

She said when she cried because the belt that bound her was pinching her, the man loosened their bonds.

After that he again raped her sister and her grandmother.

Before he left he threatened to turn on the gas in the house and leave them there (in a gas filled house), but he could not open the gas, she said.

The girl said the man demanded “a phone and money”.

Her grandmother handed him R30, a camera and a bank card. He then forced her brother to accompany him to draw cash. Her brother later returned.

A neighbour arrived in the morning and called the police.

The case has been postponed until May 31 next year.

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