Four-year ordeal ends as rapist sentenced to life

2019-05-01 06:00

THE family of a nine-year old child who was raped in 2014 welcomed a judgement handed down at the Greytown Regional court on April 18. The court sentenced Sibongiseni Mhlongo (34) to life imprisonment for the rape of the child, who was four-years-old at the time of the incident.

The mother of the child, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, visited the offices of the Gazette to express her views after the judgement.

“The four-year struggle has been a nightmare for the whole family. The case had been dragging on for four years.

“We are glad that at last the accused was sentenced to life imprisonment. Family members are happy that our prayers were answered,” she said.

The mother said her daughter used to be a smart pupil at school but, after the incident, her school performance had suffered.

“The two years, 2016 and 2017, left us as the family with unanswered questions because the case [went on] for so long. It only came back to the Greytown court in 2018.

“I even took my daughter to the private psychologist because I could see that she was suffering from psychological problems as a result of the incident. Her performance at school was not good, however, after she attended sessions at KZN Childline, she picked up and continued with her good performance at school. After the incident, she could not sleep at night. She would run away from her room,” the mother said.

The mother confirmed that she had left her child on a bench outside a hospital ward when the incident happened in 2014.

According to police reports, the mother and her daughter were visiting an elderly male family member at Greytown Hospital when the victim was left sitting on the benches while her mother went into the ward to visit the relative.

The suspect allegedly grabbed the child and took her to a dark area behind the female’s ward where he raped her.

When the mother came out from the male’s ward, she could not find the child on the bench. A search began for the child.

The suspect was identified via the hospital camera and a security guard found the suspect and the child together.

“One of the security guards heard the screams of my daughter and went out to investigate. He caught the suspect in the act,” said the mother of the victim.

The child was taken for medical examination and the suspect was arrested. Bail was denied and the accused attended mental assessment — he was found fit to stand trial.

The accused was sentenced to life imprisonment and declared unfit to possess a firearm.

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