ANGRY PROTEST: A large and vocal crowdgathered outside the Verulam Magistrate's Court calling for a rape and murder suspect not to be released on bail. Picture: Arthi Gopi
ANGRY PROTEST: A large and vocal crowdgathered outside the Verulam Magistrate's Court calling for a rape and murder suspect not to be released on bail. Picture: Arthi Gopi
DURBAN - Bloodied shoes and clothing were part of the chilling details that emerged in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court, detailing the last moments of a 7-year-old girl’s life.

This as shouts outside from an angry crowd calling for justice resounded against the walls of the courthouse.

The girl, whose identity cannot be revealed in terms of a ruling by magistrate Irfaan Khalil, was raped and murdered in Waterloo, allegedly by a 26-year-old call centre agent who lived in the same area.

The victim, who had chest wounds, died in hospital.

The man, whose name is being withheld until he formally pleads to the charges, said in an affidavit read out in court in support of his bail application that he did not know the girl and “vehemently” denied the charges.

The state believes the suspect lured the girl to his house and committed the offences - young children saw him carrying the bloodied girl outside and alerted adults.

ANGRY PROTEST: A large and vocal crowd gathered outside the Verulam Magistrate's Court calling for a rape and murder suspect not to be released on bail. Video: Arthi Gopi

The incident angered the Waterloo community and, as at the previous court appearance, they arrived in numbers demanding the man be denied bail. A strong police presence kept watch and cordoned-off the road outside the court.

The suspect, sporting a shaven head and dressed in a black and blue check jacket, said in the affidavit that on the day of the incident, July 28, he was alone at home. He lives in a flat owned by his common-law wife’s mother.

“I was alone at home, and spent time relaxing with my neighbour. I went to withdraw money and go to the Spar, and on my return home I noticed the kitchen door open and my appliances had been disconnected,” he said.

He then heard a commotion outside, where a large crowd had gathered and was screaming.

“I locked myself in the house and called the police. I’d given them my particulars. While in the house, the police kicked the door in. I was booted and punched, and the police had taken R4 000, my cellphone and bank card,” he said.

He further stated that CCTV footage from a nearby shopping complex would corroborate his alibi, and show that around the time of the incident, just after 4pm, he had been at the local shopping complex, where he stopped to buy food and withdraw cash from an ATM.

“I can account for my movements,” he said.

The suspect wanted bail because of the unhygienic conditions in prison, a fear of contracting TB, the emotional and psychological stress and the lack of easy access to his legal team to prepare for the trial.

The State, led by prosecutor San Bhartu, called the investigating officer, Captain Emmanuel Bonginkosi Zulu of the family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit, to lay out why the man should not get bail.

Zulu said the house where the incident occurred was close to that of the girl.

“When police arrived, he refused to open the door and police kicked it in.

“The police noticed bloodstains in the house, and on the clothes of the victim,” said Zulu.

There were bloodstains near the stairs, on shoes and around the kitchen sink.

Looking at photographic evidence, Zulu said a mattress in a room upstairs had blood on it, and blood was found at the clothesline outside, where the victim was found lying.

Zulu said he opposed bail because the man was a threat to the community and other witnesses, and the seriousness of the offence could induce him to “do anything to interfere with the investigation”.

The State’s other witnesses, who are yet to testify, include children who allegedly saw the man enter the house with the girl, and subsequently saw him leave the house carrying her.

When the suspect was arrested, Zulu said members of the community were so angry that they damaged the police van to get at him.

One of the girl’s neighbours, Phindile Hlongwane, said they wanted justice, and called for the alleged rapist to be jailed.

“We don’t want that man near us, they must take the key and throw it into the sea. We are very angry,” she said.

Local ward councillor Geoff Pullan said this incident should not have happened.

“It’s really a distressing case; the grandmother is shattered. The girl was in her care and she feels it more,” he said.

The bail application continues on September 3.