The so-called "Facebook rapist" Thabo Bester has been sentenced to life for the murder of model Nomfundo Tyhulu.

Cape Town - The so-called “Facebook rapist” Thabo Bester was found guilty on Monday of robbing and murdering model Nomfundo Tyhulu.

Bester appeared in the Western Cape High Court on Monday afternoon, where he admitted to the crimes against the 26-year-old Johannesburg BMW car dealer.

The court heard he met Tyhulu at a Sandton dealership in January 2011, where she sold him a BMW.

In his statement, Bester said there was a mutual attraction and they started an intimate, long-distance relationship two months later. The relationship was apparently intense, with the two communicating daily via text messaging and phone calls.

Tyhulu phoned Bester one day to tell him she had changed jobs and was free to travel until September 28. She flew to Durban and they took a holiday together in Cape Town. On the night of September 21, the couple started arguing about Bester's ex-girlfriend while staying at a Milnerton bed and breakfast.

They went to sleep, and Bester woke up in the early hours of the morning, deciding he would stab her and take her laptop and cellphone. He said in his confession that he went into the kitchen, and took a knife. When he walked back to the bedroom, Tyhulu was awake. They struggled for control of the knife and he stabbed her in the chest, causing her to bleed profusely.

Bester tied her hands behind her back and asked her for her laptop password, but she could not respond. He left her in the bedroom and told the guesthouse owner that Tyhulu was still sleeping and should not be disturbed until 2pm. The owner then gave him a lift into central Cape Town. He flew back to Durban soon after that.

Bester apologised for the crimes.

“I am deeply sorry for killing Nomfundo, and have no idea what motivated me to act in the manner that I did,” he said in his confession.

“I humbly wish to emphasise that I acted on the spur of the moment and after we had had a bitter argument about one of my former girlfriends.”

Bester was previously sentenced to 50 years in prison for raping and robbing two models. He was jailed for 15 years on each count of rape and 15 years on each count of robbery. Five years of each robbery sentence was suspended.

Bester is called the “Facebook rapist” as he used the social networking site to lure women to meet him, claiming that international modelling scouts were interested in them. Armed with a knife, he then raped and robbed them.

Judge Judith Cloete postponed the matter until Tuesday, to allow the defence time to prepare arguments for mitigation of sentencing.

The National Prosecuting Authority in the Western Cape said it was happy with the plea.

“We will be calling for the maximum sentence of life imprisonment,” spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said. - Sapa