Sentence lauded

2019-03-19 06:00

Manenberg police have welcomed the life sentence handed down to former taxi driver Lloyd Simbarashe in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday 14 March.

Simbarashe was found guilty of the murder of his former girlfriend Nikita Lewis in 2015.

The 24-year-old, originally from Kensington, fled to the Saartjie Baartman Centre after being abused and physically attacked with acid by Simbarashe. She was also stabbed 34 times in view of witnesses at a shop not too far from the place of safety on Friday 9 October 2015.

The then 38-year-old Simbarashe was arrested after the owner of the shop closed the doors and held him inside until the police arrived.

Manenberg police spokesperson Captain Ian Bennett says Simbarashe remained in custody as the investigation continued piecing together evidence to create a successful case, but Lewis’ murder left her children, friends and family devastated.

“Manenberg’s serious violent crimes unit detective Sergeant Ayanda Dyusha received this case and without a doubt brought justice for Nikita. He is a highly skilled detective with a true passion for investigations. This seasoned detective presented a case of merit, and of high quality before court,” says Bennett.

As a result, Judge Melanie Holderness found Simbarashe guilty on seven counts including assault, housebreaking and theft, assault of her grandmother including murder, on Wednesday 19 December 2018 and sentenced the Zimbabwean national to life imprisonment.

Director at the Saartjie Baartman Centre Bernadine Bachar says they welcome the sentence. “It sends out a strong message that gender-based violence will no longer be tolerated in our society and that perpetrators will face the full force of the law. The Centre is encouraged that the sentence takes into account the seriousness of the offence which was committed whilst Lewis had fled the accused, to a place of refuge, for her own safety,” says Bachar.

She feels the sentence was appropriate as “it will also have the effect of deterring crimes committed against women which threaten the moral and social fabric of our society.”

Manenberg Police Station commander Brigadier Enolium Joseph says that this heinous and callous murder of a young mother in front of her children and onlookers has shown that community needs to care and protect women more.

“Women must stop looking down on other women and they need to support and protect each other. Nikita fled the comfort of her home in Kensington to a place of safety in the Manenberg Policing precinct, yet Simbarashe hunted her down like a prize possession. Someone told him of her whereabouts! We as a community cannot allow our women to be headhunted as if they are trophies to be won,” says Joseph.

He urged communities to be actively involved in turning the tide of violence against women and children. “Manenberg is truly proud of our achievement, of successful prosecutions and convictions but what does it mean if we cannot stop this violence? We want to encourage the community to actively become involved in preventing the destruction of our moral fibre through the killing of our women.”

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