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07 Oct 2009 15:09
A man who raped and strangled his girlfriend’s two-year-old girl was given two life sentences by the Durban High Court on Wednesday.
“You are found guilty on all three counts, life sentence for rape, life sentence for murder and three months for assault,” said Judge Nic Van der Reyden.
Van der Reyden said there was no excuse for a grown man to rape a two-year-old child.
Mhlonishwa John Gcwensa (31), who looked tense during court proceedings, told the court he was guilty of raping and murdering the child.
He also pleaded guilty to assaulting the child’s mother at the same time in September.
Speaking through his lawyer, Musa Sithebe, Gcwensa said on the night of the murder he was drinking with the deceased’s mother.
The court heard that the mother of the child had told Gcwensa to wait for her at her place. The mother was also in court on Wednesday.
“When I arrived at the place where the child’s mother was living I saw the deceased sleeping on the bed. I proceed to the bed and I started raping her.
“The child screamed and cried. I placed my hand on her mouth,” said Gcwensa.
Sithebe said when his client finished raping the child he noticed that she was dead.
“Immediately when I finished raping the child, the mother came back, she saw what had happened and she confronted me and I started assaulting her by kicking and hitting her.”
Van der Reyden said if the man had waited a little while he could have had sexual intercourse with the child’s mother.
“If you had waited a little while longer you could have had sexual intercourse with an adult—the child’s mother. Even if she had not promised to have sex with you there is no excuse for raping a child,” said Van der Reyden.
Sithebe argued that Gcwensa had a difficult childhood, his father was in jail, and he dropped out of school when he was in grade seven. He also asked the court to consider that he had consumed alcohol on the night of the murder.
Van der Reyden said when Gcwensa was up for parole, the parole board would take into consideration that he had raped and killed a child.—Sapa
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