Trial of raped and murdered Janika Mello takes a turn

Janika Mello was raped and murdered.

Janika Mello was raped and murdered.

Published Feb 27, 2024


Cape Town - Murder accused Leeroy Rose turned against his friend in the Western Cape High Court on Monday when he claimed he saw Allester Abrahams attack slain teen Janika Mello with a “big stone”.

The statement came amid a special application by Abrahams to be acquitted of the rape and murder of the Heinz Park girl.

Mello, who was a Grade 6 pupil at Northwood Primary School in Woodlands, went to a karaoke event at Portlands High School to support a local soccer club on August 31, 2019.

She was later dropped off by a taxi close to her home and her half-naked body was found in her backyard the following morning.

Used condoms were found around her and the left side of her face was smashed with a concrete block.

Abrahams’ lawyer, advocate Luyanda Gebengane, told the court that the State had not provided any evidence linking him to the rape and murder charges.

Rose’s lawyer, advocate Herrington Bonya, shocked the court when he said his client had placed Abrahams on the scene.

He said it was Rose’s version that on the night of the murder he had seen Abrahams with Mello and was told by his friend he was going to have sex with her.

Rose claims Abrahams even offered to allow Mello to also have sex with him but there was no agreement and he left.

He allegedly told police that he went to look for the two later in the evening and that was when he found Abrahams holding a “big stone” and dropping it on Mello’s head.

“When he went back he saw Accused 2 with a big stone, trying to hit the deceased, and he tried to stop it but was too late,“said Bonya. This, Rose claimed, was how spatters of Mello’s blood landed on his jeans.

Judge Pam Andrews said the State had illustrated that while the rape and murder charges against Abrahams were circumstantial, there was a prima facie case.

The trial continues.

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