Randy Tango pleaded guilty to rape and murder. Picture: Noor Slamdien

Cape Town - If convicted killer Randy Tango could ask for one thing from his 11-year-old victim, Stacha Arendse, it would be for her and her parents' forgiveness. 

Tango, who was facing six counts of rape and one murder charge, was on Thursday convicted of the rape and murder of Stacha.

He was convicted by Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney. 

He was found not guilty on four counts of rape including the repeated rapes of a 14-year-old victim, who fell pregnant subsequent to the incident, but was found guilty of statutory rape instead.

Defence advocate Koos Smit read out a message from Tango to Stacha in court. 

“I am very sorry for what I did to you. I hope your parents can forgive me for what I did. I know there are no words that can bring you back, but I hope some day in the future they will forgive me,” Smit read. 

Smit said by pleading guilty Tango did not want to waste the court’s time. He said his client was remorseful.

However, State Prosecutor Marésa Engelbrecht asked the court to impose three life sentences. 

She said Tango preyed on Stacha despite him knowing her mom, Sandy Markgraaf. Tango and Markgraaf went to school together.

Engelbrecht said Tango had no choice but to plead guilty because DNA and other forensic evidence pointed to him. Tango’s DNA was found on Stacha’s clothes, on the duvet covers and sheet.

Stacha Arendse was 11 when she was raped and murdered

“He raped her and dumped her body. He thought he would get away with it,” she said. 

In a letter to the court, Markgraaf said the "void can’t be filled" after her daughter was taken away brutally.

Tango has a previous conviction of assault, theft and drug possession. He was in custody for theft from 2011 to 2016.

In his judgment Henney said witnesses in the four other rape counts lacked credibility.

He said the teen who fell pregnant did not tell anyone about the rapes and pregnancy. She only told her sister and family when rumours of her and Tango’s relationship started circulating.

Henney also added that the fact that she still went into a relationship and had sexual relations with Tango after the rapes was very “bizarre”.

The judge said the second victim was unsure of herself.

“This is not to say that the rapes did not happen, but there was not enough evidence for the court to convict the accused,” said Henney.

Stacha, 11, went missing from a friend’s home on March 27. After a search, her body was found behind Swartklip Centre. She had been raped and strangled to death. 

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Cape Argus