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Durban - The murder of a rape victim by slitting her throat was likened to “slaughter” and “the silencing of the lamb” by Durban High Court Acting Judge Sharon Marks, in sentencing the guilty to life imprisonment.
In the dock were Nkosingiphile Msomi, 24, and Lungelo Ngidi, 27, whom she convicted of the murder and rape of Thulisile Mkhize. She also convicted Ngidi of the rape of Mkhize’s 18-year-old friend.
Evidence before her, which she accepted in convicting the accused, was that the two women had attended a traditional ceremony and had later gone to a tavern in Inanda where they had shared a beer with Msomi and Ngidi.
They had given the two men “the slip” and had taken a short cut on a path, heading back to the main road.
Here, Msomi and Ngidi confronted them.
They attacked Mkhize, hitting her until she fell. They then kicked her until she became subdued.
They carried her by her arms and feet down to the river where Msomi raped her, while her companion was forced to stand by and watch.
When he was finished, Ngidi told him to kill Mkhize. He stabbed her six times in the back and then slit her throat.
The two men then threw her body into the river. Ngidi raped her companion who later managed to escape from them.
In passing sentence, Judge Marks said in using the word “slit” to describe what happened, she was being polite because it was obvious from the medical evidence that Mkhize had been “slaughtered”, a word used by state advocate Rea Mina.
She said it was obvious that the two men, after having a drink with the two woman, believed they were entitled to have sex with them, with or without their consent.
“Women have a right enshrined in our constitution and in any democratic society to enjoy themselves without the fear of this patriarchal notion that if they have a few drinks they open themselves up to unwanted and unwarranted sexual abuse,” she said.
She disagreed with their lawyers that they were youthful and were good candidates for rehabilitation, saying they were both in their mid-twenties and were “adults”.
She said both had pleaded not guilty and had not made a clean breast of things.
“Your conduct was a callous disregard for the dignity of the deceased. Not only did you toss her half-naked body into the river, but the evidence suggests that you wanted to go on to another party as if nothing had happened.”
Regarding the murder charge, she said while she was bound by the minimum sentence of life imprisonment, this was the sentence she would have imposed at her own discretion anyway.
She sentenced them both to a further 15 years for the rape of Mkhize while Ngidi was given another 10 years for the rape of her companion.
She ordered that the sentences run concurrently. - The Mercury