Three life terms for serial rapist

A serial rapist from Dennilton was handed down three life sentences by the Middelburg High Court today.

The Middelburg High Court convicted and sentenced Xolani Sebothoma (24), from Dennilton to three life terms and an additional 65 years imprisonment for multiple counts of rapes he committed in the Nkangala district during the period July 2019 to February 2020.

The accused pleaded guilty to the charges and was subsequently convicted on four counts of rape, assault, housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The court heard how on 1 July 2019, one of the complainants was walking with her friends in the vicinity of Moteti, in Dennilton when confronted by the accused who told them that they are making noise. The complainant’s friends ran away and the accused grabbed the victim and dragged her to an empty RDP house and raped her.

On the very same day, another complainant disembarked from a bus and went to a hiking spot while waiting, the accused emerged and ask for R15 from the complainant, he then dragged the victim to the back of the shade assaulted her and raped her more than once.

He then fled the scene with the complainant’s cell phone and money.

Again on 16 September 2019, the accused broke into a complainant’s house assaulted her, raped her and robbed her of her cell phone and sneakers.

The accused’s rape spree came to light on 11 September 2020 when he entered a house in Moteti and found a complainant sleeping with her boyfriend. He produced a firearm, dragged the complainant to the living room and raped her more than once. He then fled the house with the victim’s cellphones.

The complainant reported her ordeal and was able to identify the accused to the police and was subsequently arrested. Buccal swabs were taken and linked him to other crimes.

Senior State Advocate Themba Lusenga, addressed the court that rape is a repulsive crime, it is an invasion of the private and intimate zone of a woman and strikes at the core of her person and dignity.

He further told the court that the accused did not show remorse requesting the court to impose a prescribed minimum sentence on the accused.

Victim impact statements compiled by the victims facilitated by Court Preparation Betty Masango, which the victims detailed the pain and suffering caused by the accused in their lives were presented in court.

Judge Kgankie Phahlamohlako found no substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence. He sentenced the accused to three life terms and 65 years imprisonment.

“The National Prosecuting Authority will continue to pursue justice for the victims of gender-based violence. We applaud the work done by the prosecution and other stakeholders in securing the conviction.”

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