Tearful child rapist awaits sentencing

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Copy of ST p2sec AccusedRapist572.JPG INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Modise Motapane is due to be sentenced for the kidnap, rape and murder of four-year-old Keabetswe Tshabalala. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - He bowed his head, and covered his face with both hands as tears rolled down his face.

This was shortly after High Court Judge Majeke Mabesele found child rapist Modise Motapane guilty of kidnap, rape and murder.

Motapane is likely to be dressed in orange prison overalls on Monday night. Judge Mabesele was expected to pass sentencing at the Johannesburg High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court.

On September 8, Motapane kidnapped 4-year-old Keabetswe Tshabalala in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni.

Keabetswe’s body was found hanging on a hook on the wall of an abandoned building in the area.

During the trial last week, Keabetswe’s mother, Keneiwe Tshabalala, told the court that Motapane had led the search to the veld and later took them to a building where Keabetswe’s body was found.

The family had become worried when Tshabalala could not find her daughter after going out to call her for a bath.

A search, which went on until the next day, ensued. When Tshabalala eventually found her daughter, she was dead and hooked to the wall of a dilapidated building.

Keabetswe was found wearing her T-shirt half on. Her other clothes were found on the floor next to her body.

Throughout his trial, Motapane repeatedly denied all the charges against him and pleaded not guilty. He failed to explain to the court how his DNA profile was found on Keabetswe’s underwear and vagina.

The court heard that Motapane was well known to the dead child’s family.

During mitigation of sentence, his defence lawyer, advocate Anton Lerm, pleaded with the judge not to impose life imprisonment. He asked the court to consider that his client was a first-time offender and that he stood a good chance of being rehabilitated in prison. He asked for a 20-year sentence.

The State called for life imprisonment. The court heard that Motapane had completed only Grade 4 at school.

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