- The Polokwane High Court in Limpopo heard that student Precious Ramabulana suffered 90 stab wounds before she died.
- State prosecutor Trott Mphahlele broke down half way through the emotional evidence in court.
- Both the proescution and defence have submitted closing arguments in mitigation of sentence.
WARNING: This story contains graphic details.
The Polokwane High Court in Limpopo on Thursday heard chilling evidence about the last moments of TVET student Precious Ramabulana's life.
The court was told that post-mortem results showed that Ramabulana was stabbed 90 times and that her body also had lacerations and abrasions. She was 21 years old at the time of her death two years ago.
In his evidence-in-chief in mitigation of sentence, accused Aubrey Manaka admitted that he had stabbed the deceased several times and then raped her while she was bleeding. He had then stabbed her again many times.
Answering a question from Judge Francis Kganyago, Manaka said:
He continued: "It could be true [that I stabbed her 90 times]. I can't remember how many times."
He asked for the court to be lenient and for all the people affected by Ramabulana's death to forgive him.
Manaka told the court that he had dropped out of school in Grade 10 because of his excessive dagga smoking and alcohol consumption. However, he at some stage stopped smoking dagga because "it was taking me out of control", but continued with alcohol consumption.
He said he had a 4-year-old baby girl who stayed with her mother. He also told the court that he supported his daughter by working in construction in 2017. He currently stayed with his mother, sister, nephews and nieces, and his had father died in 2011, the court heard.
Manaka has pleaded guilty to all the charges against him - murder, rape, housebreaking with intent to commit a crime and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
On 24 November 2019, he forcefully entered the Ramabulana's rented room and committed the crimes.
This was after - on his own admission - he saw the deceased dancing with friends on the patio of the house and developed interest on her. He said he was unable to confess his "love" properly, and had decided to forcefully impose himself on her after consuming alcohol.
He admitted that he had walked from a tavern in his Nyakaleng village in the early hours of the morning to Mokomene, where Ramabulana was staying, to commit the crimes - a distance of about 10km.
State prosecutor Trott Mphahlele called on Ramabulana's aunt, Mavis Sethlodimela, to describe the psychological damage the crimes have caused to the deceased's family.
However, Mphahlele broke down half way through Sethlodimela's emotional evidence and the court had to be adjourned for 10 minutes for him to recover.
Sethlodimela told the court that Ramabulana had been preparing to write the last paper in her final examinations of the last year of her studies in public management.
She said Ramabulana's father had died four years ago. The deceased then helped to support her mother through the NSFAS funds she was receiving for her studies.
Sethlodimela described the Ramabulana's mother, Peggy Ramabulana, as "highly emotionally disturbed" by the incident.
"We had to attend to the crime scene and we saw the body lying there. The image is still on the minds.
"The accused testified he saw the deceased dancing on the patio of the house. I don't understand then why he went straight to the room (of the deceased) and did all those things," Sethlodimela said.
In his closing argument, defence attorney Lawrence Manzini appealed to the court to deviate from imposing a maximum sentence. He said the accused was troubled in his youth and had shown remorse.
He pleaded for the court to impose a 20- to 25-year sentence.
However, Mphahlele referred to some law case studies to argue for a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
He also argued that remorse should not be confused with self-pity, which the accused has demonstrated.
The case was adjourned until Friday 11 June for judgment