“The police found the license disc with the particulars of the owner inside the vehicle which was recovered at the premises of Hughes in Kimberley”
FIFTY-one-year-old Randall Hughes has been found guilty on 20 charges, ranging from kidnapping, theft of a motor vehicle, robbery, rape, exposure of genitalia, causing an adult to witness self-masturbation and possession of stolen property.
Hughes was initially charged with 29 offences that were allegedly committed on March 23, 2014 as well as on various days from April 6 to June 28, 2015.
Regional Court President, Magistrate Khandilizwe Nqadala, during his judgement yesterday, pointed out that the theft of a motor vehicle and one of the theft counts were committed in the Western Cape.
“In relation to the theft of a vehicle, the owner of a gold Toyota Corolla drove with his wife to Shoprite in Blue Downs in Cape Town on March 28, 2014. The owner left the car locked in the parking area of the store when he went inside the store to take his wife the bank card.
“Upon his return to the car, it was missing. About a year later, the owner was informed by his insurance and the police that his car had been found. He (the owner) came to the Kimberley precinct and positively identified the vehicle amongst several others.
“The police found the license disc with the particulars of the owner inside the vehicle which was recovered at the premises of Hughes in Kimberley,” said Nqadala.
During the various crimes committed in Kimberley, Hughes would pretend to be a Good Samaritan, offering lifts to women.
Nqadala said an avalanche of testimony was given by complainants that the accused had been using his car when he molested the complainants and gave the same description of the vehicle to the police.
Hughes pleaded not guilty to the charges against him claiming that the complainants pointed the finger at him as his picture appeared in the DFA on June 28, 2015. One of the incidents, where Hughes was charged with rape and exposing his genetalia, relates to an incident where he offered a woman a lift to Bloemfontein.
“On April 27, 2014 the complainant was at the hiking spot from Kimberley to Bloemfontein. The accused’s gold-brownish Toyota Corolla drove past her towards Kimberley. After 15 minutes the same car returned and the driver asked her where she was going. She told him that was on her way to Bloemfontein and he offered her a lift.
“They drove off and the man demanded fare for the trip. About 10 kilometres outside Kimberley, the man stopped the car at a nearby bush saying that he was hungry. The man told the complainant he was going to fetch a sandwich in the boot, but returned to the driver’s seat naked from the waist down. The man took the complainant’s bag and threw it on the backseat. He then exposed his private parts to her and told her to ‘come eat’.
“She managed to jump out of the vehicle and ran away as she was afraid that she would be raped. The man drove off with her bag, which had her identity book (ID), cellphone, bank cards and several store cards inside. She reported the matter to the Bloemfontein police and was called by the Kimberley police on June 26, 2015, to identify and recover her belongings,” said Nqadala.
He dismissed Hughes’ defence that the complainant had mistakenly identified him as the assailant as false.
“The complainant observed the accused from close proximity when they were seated in the front of the car. The incident also happened during broad daylight. The complainant had ample time to observe the accused and make adequate identification. The observation of the complainant was good and she was able to tell the race of the accused, his complexion, colour of his hair and his body build.
“The connection of the accused to this incident is corroborated by the recovery of most of the complainant’s items which were found on the premises of the accused,” he said.
He added that the modus operandi of the accused was to rob women of their property after offering them a lift.
“On June 18, 2015 at about 4.30pm another complainant was on her way home from the library when a person, who she identified as the accused, offered her a lift. The man dropped the complainant next to a school and drove off with her handbag which contained her purse, ID, bank card, store cards, educational certificates and cellphone.
“A few days later she recovered her items at the police station. Her cellphone was not recovered.”
Nqadala said a number of cellphones were found by the police at Hughes’ house during a search conducted on June 22, 2015. He said that the accused admitted that the phones were found on the day of the search but said that he and his sister, who was married to a foreign national, had taken the phones as well as other stock.
Nqadala rejected the accused’s defence as not reasonably true and added that some of the items found inside his house were personal items of the complainants which depicted the names and identity numbers of the complainants.
He will be sentenced next month and is being held in custody.