Four life sentences for killer and serial rapist who claimed his victims were sex workers

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Philani Justice Nkosi, 35, was sentenced in the Mpumalanga High Court on Monday for rape, murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Philani Justice Nkosi, 35, was sentenced in the Mpumalanga High Court on Monday for rape, murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
PHOTO: Supplied/Mpumalanga SAPS
  • A man has been found guilty of rape and murder in the Mpumalanga High Court.
  • Philani Justice Nkosi was sentenced to four life terms and an additional 15 years.
  • One of his victims was a 12-year-old girl.

A Mpumalanga murderer and serial rapist has been handed four life sentences and an additional 15 years behind bars.

Philani Justice Nkosi, 35, from Bhuga Trust, told the court he did not rape his victims, adding that they were in fact sex workers, and that the 12-year-old girl he raped and killed was his girlfriend.

He was sentenced in the Mpumalanga High Court on Monday for rape, murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. He committed the offences in Bhuga Trust and Halfway Trust in Kabokweni.

Nkosi pounced on his first victim – the 12-year-old – on 31 August 2014.

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Police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, said the child told her mother that evening that she was going to a nearby shop.

Mohlala said: "However, the girl never returned home. She was found dead in nearby bushes the following morning. A case was opened, and an investigation ensued. It was later discovered that the little girl was raped as well."

On 19 March 2016, a 30-year-old woman was on her way home from work when she came across Nkosi and several of his friends. They robbed her of cash and groceries, and Nkosi then dragged her to nearby bushes, where he stabbed and raped her.

On 8 December 2018, a 29-year-old woman went to visit a male friend in the evening.

"However, while on her way, she came across Nkosi, who promised to take her to a tavern after claiming to have seen her male friend. This was just a trick, and he dragged her to nearby bushes and raped her," said Mohlala.

"A thorough investigation was done by the team, which led to the arrest of the suspect on 13 November 2022 at Bhuga in Kabokweni. He was charged for the said incidents, [and his] trial... started on Monday, 21 November 2022," said Mohlala.

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National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said Nkosi pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

"He alleged that the victims were prostitutes and that the deceased victim (12-year-old girl) was his girlfriend. State advocate Zwelethu Mata led the testimonies of the surviving victims and the deceased's mother. They [testified about] the impact of their ordeals... on their lives.

"The State also led the evidence of the investigating officer, who gave testimony as to how the accused was arrested," said Nyuswa.

She added:

Advocate Mata handed in positive DNA evidence to the court, as well as a post-mortem report which confirmed that the deceased's cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and pressure to the neck.

Judge Greyling Coetzee found Nkosi guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment on three counts of rape and one count of murder, and an additional 15 years behind bars for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Mpumalanga police commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, welcomed the sentence.

"We are so overwhelmed and excited about the sentence. Today, women and children will sleep better knowing that one of the perpetrators will be behind bars for a very long time. This should send a clear message to others who have not yet been caught that the net is slowly closing in on them," Manamela said.


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