Mpumalanga dad who lost daughter and niece to serial killer: 'I couldn't sleep for a long time'

2019-01-22 14:52
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

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The grief-stricken father of an 11-year-old girl who was brutally raped and killed in 2016 says nothing less than four life sentences for her killer will serve as justice to their family.

Bongani Nkutha of Embalenhle in Mpumalanga was devastated when he found out his daughter, Nokulunga, had been raped, killed and dumped on a street not too far from her home in August 2016.

Tragically, her alleged killer was only caught and arrested two years later after allegedly raping and killing Nokulunga's 11-year-old cousin Olerato Nkutha.

The suspect, Themba Shongwe (30), appeared at Evander magistrates court on Monday, January 14 and is facing three counts of murder, rape and kidnapping and one count of robbery with aggravated robbery.

According to SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the suspect has been linked through forensic investigation to several contact crimes involving young girls aged between 11 and 16. As per information given by police, the suspect would allegedly ambush his victims, drag them to nearby bushes at knife point where he would then carry out the acts, then dump the bodies of his victims on the streets.

The suspect was recently linked to the murder of Olerato and Nokulunga Nkutha after an extensive forensic investigation by SAPS according to Brigadier Leonard Hlathi.

News that the alleged killer would remain in custody pending a formal bail hearing came as a relief to the Nkutha family who have experienced a double tragedy having lost two of their family members.

Speaking to DRUM, Bongani said the last few years have been extremely trying for the family but they will now be able to find closure because the person is allegedly responsible has been brought to book.

"As a family we're happy we can get closure by knowing who did this to our kids. We didn"t expect it to be him because he isn"t someone who lives far but is someone who lives with us in our community. We are happy that now other kids have been saved and we hope he doesn’t get bail."

Bongani shared that the loss has greatly hurt the family as both his daughter and niece were murdered at the same age, just as the family had started seeing great potential in the both of them.

"We were greatly hurt as a family by these losses, personally I spent some time taking pills in order to sleep."

When asked what would constitute as justice to the family, Bongani told DRUM that four life sentences would be the start and for the accused to never return to the community.

"If the court can just do its job and give him four life sentences for all the murders he is linked with and we never see him again."

Bongani concluded by thanking the community for their support. He said it's for this reason that they don't want the case to be moved elsewhere.

"We've submitted a letter today to contest the transfer of this case to the Pretoria high court, we want it to be heard right here in the Gert Sibande District where we have the support of our community."

The suspect was remanded in custody and the case postponed to January 22 for a formal bail application.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime
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