4 life sentences for serial rapist, murderer after more than 4 years on the run

2019-03-06 16:41
Lungisani Innocent Mdlolo in the Gauteng High Court (Supplied)

Lungisani Innocent Mdlolo in the Gauteng High Court (Supplied)

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"Thank you, Jesus. The Lord is great."

These were the words a woman shouted out in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday when convicted murderer and serial rapist Lungisani Innocent Mdlolo was sentenced to four life terms and 240 years. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

She held her hands high up in the air as she belted out the words.

Mdlolo terrorised residents of Klipspruit, Kliptown and Pimville in Soweto between July 5, 2012 and December 1, 2012. He broke into people's homes at night, robbed them of their belongings and even raped some of them.

He was finally sentenced on Wednesday after spending three years on the run. On December 2, 2014 – the day he was expected to be sentenced by the late Judge George Maluleke – he escaped from the Gauteng High Court, sitting in Palm Ridge. He was rearrested in December 2018.

He arrived at court on Wednesday morning under heavy police guard. Throughout proceedings, he was shackled and handcuffed.

READ: Cop suspended over escape of serial rapist

Before passing sentence, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng warned him that he was a substitute judge who was only reading out the sentencing Maluleke prepared before he died.

But Mdlolo claimed that he thought his case would start afresh after Maluleke died.

However, Mokgoatlheng explained there was no way that the matter would restart.

"Judge Maluleke has died. The law in South Africa says if a judge convicts a person and later when that judge dies another judge must continue with the matter. Judges die daily in South Africa. I have colleagues in Durban, Mthatha, Free State, North West who have died. If a judge dies, a case doesn't die," he said when Mdlolo persisted.

Mokgoatlheng said the case was a peculiar one because Maluleke had written the sentence before he died.

"It is unprecedented in the criminal law. It is very, very rare that a substitute court is spared from reading records and arguments of the previous case before it could prepare an appropriate sentence. I am reading the actual report of Judge Maluleke.

"He is also reading it for this court wherever he is. This is a living record. I know that there are people who claim to resurrect dead people recently. But this record is resurrected by the re-arrest of the suspect," he said.

Mdlolo was earlier convicted of murder, 10 counts of housebreaking with intent to rob, five of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three of rape, one of pointing of a firearm, one of possession of an unlicensed firearm and another of possession of ammunition.

He was initially arrested on December 1, 2012, at Nancefield Hostel in Soweto, after being traced through a cellphone of one of the victims he had robbed earlier.

Condoms

In his sentencing, Maluleke mentioned that Mdlolo used condoms when he committed the rapes.

"One of the victims was raped in the presence of her five-year-old child. He invaded her home on two separate occasions in Pimville, forcing her to relocate to her parental home. The victim suffered a stroke due to failure of receiving trauma counselling after she was raped. She is disabled and lost her teaching job.

"One of the victims doesn't trust male persons anymore, especially when they are isiZulu-speaking. She even miscarried her baby due to stress she endured. The victim lost her son, aged 21, and witnessed when her daughter was raped by Mdlolo," Mokgoatlheng continued reading.

Mdlolo was sentenced to three life terms for rape, one life term for murder, 150 years for housebreaking with intent to commit robbery, 75 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances and 15 years for the possession of an unlicensed firearm, pointing of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.

Mdlolo told the court that he intended to appeal his sentences and convictions.

Judgment welcomed

NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said they welcomed the sentences and extended their gratitude for the work Maluleke had done in preparing the judgment before he died.

"We are grateful that Mokgoatlheng brought to life the judgement. We remain faithful to our courts. Maluleke has done a sterling job."

Read more on:    npa  |  johannesburg  |  courts  |  crime  |  rape
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