Child rape ‘against my faith’

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iol news pic truck rapist sentenced INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Arumugam Naidoo was sentenced to life in prison for raping a 6-year-old girl. Picture: Marilyn Bernard

Durban - Durban truck driver Arumugam Naidoo, sentenced this week for raping a six-year-old Montclair girl, claimed his behaviour was against his religious beliefs but frustration got the better of him.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Tribune, Naidoo disclosed the events of the day that changed his and the little girl’s lives.

His fate was sealed in the Durban Magistrate’s Court by Judge Siphiwe Hlophe, who sentenced him to life imprisonment on four counts of rape, 10 years for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and three years for abduction. The sentences will run concurrently.

The convicted rapist said he was God-fearing, but also highly frustrated. “I am a Christian. We don’t do this, but I was frustrated.

“The night before I was drinking at a bar. As I came out the police got to me. They took my passport, licence, wallet and money. They released me at 9am the next morning. I was also tired of driving. Frustration led me to do what I did.

“It was about 3.30pm when I stopped the truck. She ran towards it and I offered a lift. I asked where she was going and she started to talk to me, like we were friends.

“But my intention to do this was always there – because I was frustrated.”

Naidoo said he was not the harmful type. “I didn’t mean to do what I did. After realising what had happened, I was afraid. So I assaulted her.

“One thing led to another, then I drove off. I am not that guy. I have been driving for 20 years and have never done something like this.”

While he is serving his life sentence in Westville prison, the 6-year-old will be getting ready to go back to school tomorrow.

Her parents were pleased with the sentencing.

“We found it very difficult to deal with the incident, but we get comfort knowing he will not be able to harm anyone else,” said her father.

The judge said in court the sentence was intended to send a message to would-be rapists.

“Rape is like cancer and it is the court’s duty to send a message to the accused and potential rapists that it will not be tolerated,” he said.

Vanespiri Pillay, acting operations manager of Childline KZN, said no punishment could make up for the rape of a young, vulnerable child.

“While we are pleased with the outcome, unfortunately this is not a rare case. On average, about 250 new cases of sexual abuse from children under 18 are referred to our organisation every month.

“And our crisis line gets thousands of calls every month, reporting some kind of abuse of children.”

Pillay said the child had a long road to recovery and healing. “She came in for therapy this week. It is difficult to ascertain her progress as it is early in the therapeutic process, but she will be back at school on Monday.”

She said counselling and support would help.

“We, as a society, will no longer tolerate abuse of our children. This scourge of rape in our society needs to be eradicated and all perpetrators should be dealt with in the harshest manner by the judicial system.”

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Sunday Tribune

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