Cape Town - Two men who raped, robbed and choked a woman to death whom they knew, have been convicted in the High Court sitting in George.
Charnè Manuel had last been seen alive with Ruwaden Bruiners and Johnick Kleinbooi on September 16, 2020, before her half-naked body was discovered along railway line the next day.
State witness Dr Marianna Winterbach, who performed the post-mortem, found the cause of Manuel’s death to be consistent with smothering, because of a rolled-up sock which was pushed into her mouth, and which filled the entire oral cavity and oro-pharynx.
No DNA evidence was found in the vulva region, as the court heard that Bruiners used a plastic bread cover as a condom when he raped her.
In his plea explanation, Bruiners said he and Kleinbooi walked along the train lines with the Manuel after a roadblock, and decided to rob her.
Kleinbooi argued that he was coerced into committing the robbery by Bruiners.
Senior State advocate Lenro Badenhorst argued that the murder was premeditated.
“It is submitted that it is highly unlikely that they would have allowed her to go free at the train track in circumstances where she knew them and could report the robbery. It was striking that the accused one could not, under cross-examination, explain how they planned to get away with the robbery of the complainant as she knew their identity.
“It is submitted that the accused had the direct intention to kill a known deceased once they started robbing her and their actions escalated to rape. It is submitted that the automatic and co-ordinated co-operation by the two accused supports the inference that it was never a consideration to leave the deceased alive.”
The court agreed with the State on a common purpose.
“In this case, the common purpose was established by the active association of accused number two with accused number one in committing these crimes as set out in the indictment.
“In addition, accused number two was always present at the scene of the crimes when they were committed.”
The case has been postponed to August 21 for the court to obtain a probation officer’s report for sentencing.
The National Prosecuting Authority said it welcomed the conviction.