The family of raped and murdered Iyapha Yamile have expressed relief after the Western Cape High Court found Odwa Nkololo guilty of the crimes committed against the 4-year-old girl.
He was acquitted of kidnapping. A confession he allegedly made shortly after his arrest, which was previously provisionally admitted as evidence, was ruled inadmissible because police did not follow the correct procedure when acquiring it.
Iyapha’s body was found on May 1 last year wrapped in a green plastic refuse bag. Her family had reported her missing the previous day.
Nkololo was arrested at his home two weeks later.
After Judge Diane Davis handed down the verdict, the angry Nkololo spat at Daily Voice journalist Robin-Lee Francke before making spiteful facial gestures at Iyapha’s family.
The child’s family said he had showed he was not remorseful for the rape and murder.
Judge Davis said it was common knowledge that blood samples and semen found on Iyapha’s panties, were of Nkololo.
Nkololo is also charged with another rape case in which the child is the daughter of a woman close to him.
The person cannot be named to protect the identity of her daughter.
Judge Davis is yet to make a ruling on this case.
Nkololo had been arrested after police decided that DNA samples from all males from the age of 10 in the Town Two vicinity in Khayelitsha would be taken to a laboratory for testing, but Nkololo evaded this.
“He was evading the operation for fear of detection,” said Judge Davis, adding that Nkololo could have gone to a police station and had blood drawn if he was innocent.
“He could not answer why he was not available. He said no one came to his place, which contradicted his evidence that he was away,” said Judge Davis.
Nkololo had claimed that the refuse plastic bag used to wrap Iyapha, in which his skin cells were found, was stolen from his home.
The judge said evidence showed that Iyapha was penetrated, and at her age it was obvious she did not consent.
Davies said Iyapha died as a result of strangulation.
The evidence against Nkololo was based on circumstantial and DNA evidence, she said.
Iyapha’s father, Danile Ngongoshe, said the family remained distraught over her death but were glad the case was coming to an end.
“He does not show remorse. He is arrogant. He has shown that he does not want to live among people,” said Ngongoshe.