Convicted killer Gerald Rosselloty, 39, faces a lengthy prison term. Picture: Shan Pillay

A tearful Gerald Rosselloty has admitted to killing his girlfriend, Nokwazi Ntuli in a drunken argument.

Rosselloty made the dramatic confession, telling of his problem with the bottle and apologising to Ntuli’s family, after being found guilty in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.

In a unanimous verdict, Judge Rishi Seegobin and two assessors, Trish Moonsamy and Chris Mdunge, convicted Rosselloty of the rape of a six-year old girl in September 2006, as well as arson and the murder of Ntuli on the night of April 16, 2010.

Ntuli was killed at Rosselloty’s simplex in Monzali Drive, in Hilton and her body was then taken to an isolated area some 2km away and set alight.

The simplex in Hilton was also set alight, causing damage to the tune of R700 000.

Rosselloty steadfastly denied any involvement in the murder and arson, claiming he was on his way to the Mighty Men evangelical conference in Greytown at the time.

However, after being found guilty in a comprehensive judgment and after persistent questioning by the judge, Rosselloty broke down and admitted that what happened to Ntuli had been his fault.

“My problem was alcohol. All I wanted to do was drink and when I drank, I became a different person. What happened that night… I don’t know. I hit her and it happened so quickly… in a split second. I weighed around 130 kilograms at that time and I was very strong,” Rosselloty said in broken sentences, wringing his hands with his head bowed in the dock.

He told a stunned courtroom that on the night of the murder, he and Ntuli had been drinking and arguing.

“I think she was upset that I was on the computer. She was right in my ear and she said something, I can’t even remember what it was, but I just stood up and lashed out at her. She fell against the wall and then she fell to the ground. She was lying on the floor and I picked her up and took her to the bedroom and left her on the bed,” said Rosselloty.

He said he went back to the kitchen to drink, and when he returned to the bedroom later that night, he found that Ntuli was not breathing.

Rosselloty said he rolled her body in a sheet and then carried her on the mattress to his bakkie.

“I don’t know how I ended up in the field. I just set fire to her. I went back home and put the mattress from the spare bedroom on to my bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I kept seeing her body. That’s when I lit the duvet in the house and left,” he said.

Rosselloty said that he wished to apologise to Ntuli’s family for what he had done.

“I did not mean to kill her. She was a sweet person and we had a really good connection. We only argued when we drank. I miss her and I regret causing her family pain,” he said.

Judge Seegobin said it was very difficult to reconcile Rosselloty’s new version of events with all the lies he has told at trial, after having “wasted the court’s time in recalling several witnesses to testify to perpetuate the lies”.

“I hope that you somehow find peace within yourself,” Judge Seegobin said to a tearful Rosselloty.

The 39-year-old, however still doggedly maintains his innocence with regard to the rape charge against him, in the face of overwhelming evidence and his conviction.

In his judgment, Judge Seegobin said that on all three counts, the State’s case against Rosselloty was a formidable one, and the court was impressed by all the witnesses, who sought to give their evidence in a simple and straightforward manner.

“In stark contrast, the accused [Rosselloty] showed himself for what he really is; a pathetic, conniving and pitiful liar whose version has only to be heard to be rejected as being fanciful and unbelievable,” the judge said.

Judge Seegobin said that Rosselloty, who pleaded not guilty, elected to remain silent, simply because he had no plausible explanation for everything that transpired.

With regard to the rape, the child was in his care on the day in question.

Rosselloty would have the court believe the child’s mother, with whom he had previously had a relationship, orchestrated the sexual assault on her six-year-old daughter and then implicated him, to wreak revenge on him for having jilted her three years earlier.

“This is an outrageous claim and was rightly rejected by the mother of the child with disdain,” the judge said, adding that they view Rosselloty as “a cunning person with a narcissistic and perverted character that revealed itself every time he opened his mouth”.

The judge found that Rosselloty had resorted to a series of diversions calculated to mislead the police and fabricate a version of events to suit his own ends.

“The cumulative effect of all the evidence adduced by the State has woven a net so tight around the accused that there is no room for escape,” Judge Seegobin said.

Rosselloty faces two life sentences on the rape and murder charges. He has previous convictions for robbery, rape, assault and drug possession.

Sentence will be delivered on Wednesday.