Serial rapist fails in bid to get off hook

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Pretoria - A serial rapist handed two life terms and a further 112 years’ imprisonment last year has been denied leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Ishmael Simelane, now 30, got the hefty sentence for his reign of terror in the Pretoria central business district in which he raped seven women. Simelane was sentenced in October last year after being convicted on 25 charges ranging from rape to kidnapping and extortion.

Judge Jody Kollapen told him on Thursday that all fingers pointed to him as the rapist. Also, his victims had identified him as their attacker.

There was no prospect that another court would come to a different finding, the judge said.

Also, on the question of his sentence, he deserved his punishment.

Judge Kollapen noted that Simelane had raped seven women over five to six months and all the incidents involved young women he exploited in their quest to find work.

Simelane promised to assist them in finding a job and they believed him. He lured them to remote spots where he raped them.

“He abused the trust and even extorted money from their families. He acted in a brazen and brutal manner. He showed a callous disregard for his victims.”

Given the history of sexual violence against women in the country, it was doubtful another court would impose a lesser sentence.

At the start of on Thursday’s proceedings, Simelane got a tongue-lashing from the judge after he told the court he no longer wanted to seek leave to appeal, but rather wanted the court to review his case.

As this involved a different procedure, it meant a new application had to be launched and the matter could not go ahead on Thursday.

Judge Kollapen told Simelane, who is serving his sentence in prison in Bloemfontein, that while it was his right to launch whatever application he wished, he should have informed the court earlier, as he had been transported at taxpayers’ cost to Pretoria on Thursday.

Simelane then changed his mind and said he would go ahead with his leave to appeal application.

Last year, his victims cheered when he was sentenced. Some cried with relief and hugged each other, while others waved at him as he was led to the holding cells, shouting “You got what you deserved”.

During the trial each woman told a similar story of how she waited at a taxi rank for transport to look for a job, approached by a very friendly, polite young man, offering them work. He would travel with them, but on the outskirts of town would lure them into the bushes to rape and rob them. In most cases he would get numbers for their families and demand a ransom.

The judge said at the time he was “quite devious” and played psychological games with his victims, “putting the fear of death” into them.

Pretoria News

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