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A teenager has pleaded guilty to faking her own abduction, tying herself up and sending pictures to her parents, saying she did it to see if they really cared about her.
Mary Dilley, 19, of the Bluff, and her friend Brandon Wester, also 19, of Bellair, both pleaded guilty in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday to defeating the ends of justice.
Giving them both wholly suspended sentences, magistrate Lily Mpongose warned them that the offence was serious and she was giving them a chance in the hope that they would learn their lesson.
“A child must respect and love its parents. A child cannot demand extraordinary love by doing this… you must be open with your parents if you are feeling depressed,” she said, commenting that an aggravating factor was the waste of State resources because the police had been dispatched to “rescue” her.
In her plea read into the record by her attorney, N Zuma, Dilley said she and Wester had hatched the fake kidnapping plan at his home on the evening of September 16.
“Brandon helped me tie myself up and he began taking pictures of me which we sent to my best friend, Shane, via BBM. Shane then sent the pictures to my mother together with a recorded message which was done by Brandon and which said he had found the phone at the beach on the bench covered with blood.
“The next morning the police officers came to Brandon’s house and placed us under arrest for obstructing the course of justice,” she said.
Wester, in his written guilty plea, said Dilley told him she wanted to “scare” her parents. “I followed the plan and helped her get tied up and started taking pictures with her cellular phone.
“I also recorded a voice message calling myself Ricardo and saying I had found the phone on the beach.” Both said they knew that what they had done was wrong and they had no defence to their actions.
Prosecutor Charlene Govender said there had to be a consequence for their “juvenile behaviour”.
“Being convicted for their criminal conduct means their records will be stained for the rest of their lives. They made a mockery of the law and wasted valuable state resources.”
She said their parents were in court supporting them and she had been told they were undergoing counselling “and I hope they have learnt their lesson”.
The magistrate said while she accepted they were remorseful, it did not excuse what they had done.
She sentenced them to a fine of R3 000 or six months in jail, wholly suspended for five years on condition that they not commit the same offence.
She declared them unfit to possess a firearm during the same period, saying that she was doing this to protect them from themselves.