Home News Life sentence for man who raped mentally challenged woman

Life sentence for man who raped mentally challenged woman

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A 42-year-old Northern Cape man was handed a life sentence for raping a 47-year-old mentally challenged woman from Komaggas, near Springbok, and stealing her social grant money.

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THE SPRINGBOK Regional Court sentenced Fernandes Rudolph Damon, 42, to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of raping a 47-year-old mentally challenged woman from Komaggas, near Springbok, and stealing her social grant money.

The incident took place on June 3, 2020, when the complainant went to a local shop to withdraw her state grant.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said on Tuesday that the woman purchased two bottles of liquor at the bottle store after withdrawing R800.

“The accused (Damon) arrived at the bottle store, took the complainant’s alcohol from the counter and left with it. She was not alarmed as she knew the accused as they both resided in Komaggas. The accused also used to be friends with her boyfriend,” said Senokoatsane.

He added that Damon met his friend and co-accused, Jason Diergaardt, along the way and they walked together with the complainant to a ditch.

“The complainant was forced to smoke dagga and drink alcohol. While undressing the complainant, the two accused persons found R700 in her possession. Damon proceeded to undress and rape her while holding a knife against her throat. When Damon was done, his co-accused Diergaardt took his turn to rape the complainant.”

Senokoatsane stated that the two accused left the complainant at the scene and took her belongings with them.

“The complainant subsequently reported the matter to the police and both accused were arrested.”

Senokoatsane indicated that lengthy delays were experienced before the trial started on November 27, 2023, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, backlogs at the laboratory and the death of the co-accused – Diergaardt.

“During the investigation, it was established that the complainant had previously been psychologically traumatised after she survived an event that led to her being admitted as a patient suffering from schizophrenia. Due to these developments, she was sent to a clinical psychologist for an evaluation. The evaluation concluded that the complainant was functioning on the level of a mild intellectual deficit. The psychologist further testified that the complainant was functioning on the level of a child between the ages of 7-10 years.”

Senokoatsane added that the regional court prosecutor, Basil Kock, encountered difficulties in consulting with the complainant due to her mental state.

“The prosecutor had to work extremely hard to gain her trust in order to construct the State’s case, as she was the only witness to what had transpired on that day. During the trial, Kock highlighted the psychological trauma suffered by the complainant and the seriousness of the offence.”

Senokoatsane added that Damon chose not to testify, but had made admissions where he admitted to having raped the complainant, stealing her money, her Sassa card and cigarettes.

“He admitted to the roles both he and his co-accused played during the incident. He related that he went to the house of the complainant to ask for her forgiveness but that she had chased him away.”

Senokoatsane said the State prosecutor, Basil Kock, highlighted the psychological trauma suffered by the complainant and the seriousness of the offence.

“In sentencing the accused, the court found that there were indeed no substantial and compelling circumstances for the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.”

He stated that the life sentence imposed for the rape and the 12-month sentence for the theft charge would run concurrently.

“The accused was also declared unfit to possess a firearm,” Senokoatsane added.

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