Cape Town -

A man found guilty of raping his 11-year-old stepdaughter over four years was sentenced to life in prison as well as 15 years for sexual assault and grooming.

The man, who cannot be named to avoid identifying the child, was sentenced in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday after he was found guilty of assaulting the young girl between January 2009 and last year.

The court heard how the stepfather began by showing her pornography and touching her inappropriately. In 2010 the girl told her mother that she had a boyfriend, and after questioning admitted that her stepfather had raped her.

After allegedly admitting he had raped her, the stepfather promised to stop. But seven months later the abuse resumed in the same room the girl shared with her her six-year-old sister.

Eric Ntabazalila, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman, said they welcomed the sentence and hoped it would send a clear message.

“Our prosecutors, who are trained to prosecute sexual offences crimes like these, will continue to vigorously argue for harsher sentences to indicate that these types of crimes are not going to be tolerated and that the victims of crime get the justice they deserve.”

He added that the stepfather had pleaded not guilty to the charges last year but was convicted on all three counts.

“On the sexual assault and grooming, taken together for purposes of sentence, he was sentenced to 15 years’ direct imprisonment. On count three, rape, he was given life imprisonment.

“The court ordered that the sentences be served separately.”

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Cape Argus