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Six life sentencesfor rapist of young girl

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The teenager was alone at home during the attack.

TAKEN AWAY: Six life sentences and another eight years . . . this was the punishment for a 22-year-old man who raped a 14-year-old Northern Cape girl. Motladiele Tlhokwe is seen here in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday. He received six life sentences for raping the young girl six times during an incident on October 22 2016. He was also sentenced to seven years imprisonment for housebreaking with the intent to rape and 12 months for robbery after he stole the cellphone of the complainant. Picture: Soraya Crowie

SIX LIFE sentences and another eight years . . . this was the punishment for a 22-year-old man who raped a 14-year-old Northern Cape girl.

Motladiele Tlhokwe, from Warrenton, was sentenced in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday.

He received six life sentences for raping the young girl six times during an incident on October 22 2016. He was also sentenced to seven years imprisonment for housebreaking with the intent to rape and 12 months for robbery after he stole the cellphone of the complainant.

All the crimes were committed on the same night at the home of the young girl in Ikhutseng in Warrenton.

The State, represented by Advocate Keageletse Ilanga, said that Tlhokwe gained access to the house of the complainant through a window.

The 14-year-old girl was alone at home with her four-year-old nephew, sleeping in her mother’s bedroom after the latter had to help cook at a funeral. The windows were closed and door of the house was locked.

She woke up with someone on top of her, telling her to undress. The complainant attempted to fight off her attacker, resisting his demands until he pulled out a knife.

She was then raped six times, once in the mother’s bedroom, four times in the sister’s bedroom and once in the living room. The rapes lasted for a considerable period of time and Tlhokwe only left the house at the break of dawn.

The older sister of the complainant arrived home and found her in an emotional state.

The accused was arrested shortly afterwards.

Acting Judge Mbalo said that the incident resulted in emotional scars for the entire family of the complainant.

“The mother of the complainant seems to be hardest hit by the incident. Emotionally she is devastated and blames herself for what happened. She regrets leaving the complainant alone at home in order to help at a funeral. The complainant was left by the mother with the hope that she was well protected inside the house.

“She was enjoying her sleep and babysitting her nephew when the accused pounced on her,” said Mbalo.

The judge added that the rapist attacked her in a place where she was supposed to feel most secured.

“Sexual intercourse with the complainant occurred on six occasions and in various places in her house. During the ordeal the accused held a knife against the complainant. She was bewildered by the misdeeds of the accused and had to pretend to play along with the demands of the accused to avoid being injured,” she said.

She added that attack has also had a psychological and emotional impact on the complainant.

“The complainant is no longer keen to venture into the streets or walk freely. She also refuses to be left alone at home. She is apprehensive and insists that the doors of the bedroom be kept open as she harbours the fear of another intruder. Her reason for that is so that she can escape if neccessary. She has also attempted suicide, however, there is no further detail on this.”

Mbalo said Tlhokwe’s lawyer, Dries van Tonder, argued that the youthfulness of the accused should be regarded as a mitigating factor.

“The defence said the accused was relatively young at the time the offence was committed. The defence also said that the accused did not get too physical with the complainant as he only threatened her with the knife.

“Van Tonder added that the rape was also not the worst kind of rape and that these were grounds for the court to deviate from imposing a life sentence,” she said.

The State, however, argued that the modus operandi used by the accused points to a level of maturity.

Mbalo said she had to agree with the State.

“The accused stealthily entered the home of the complainant and armed himself with a knife which he obtained from the kitchen. He raped the complainant in various rooms of the house. When he was done, he ordered the complainant to wash herself in order to remove any traces of DNA and semen.

“All this points to a mature and calculative person. I am also not convinced that age is a factor in favour of the accused,” she said.

Mablo added that she could not find any substantial and compelling circumstances in favour of the accused, which would render the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentences.

She concluded by stating that the name of the accused should be added to the National Register of Sexual Offences and that the accused was automatically deemed unfit to possess a firearm.