Cape Town - The State has pushed for the severest punishment of a serial rapist who, it says, treated his victims like “animals” and showed no remorse.

Vuyisile Stofile was recently convicted in the Western Cape High Court on a string of crimes – including rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances – stemming from incidents that took place between April and September 2012. He used the same modus operandi in all the incidents, targeting women near Nyanga Junction as they were on their way to GF Jooste Hospital in Manenberg early on weekday mornings. In most instances, he would propose a short cut and lure them to a secluded spot.

Three of his victims, two of whom were pregnant, were robbed and raped. The others were robbed. The State and defence argued as to sentencing on Thursday with prosecutor Maria Marshall asking the court to impose heavy sentences. She said that in the case of one of the attacks, where the victim had been raped twice, a life sentence was applicable.

Marshall said that, according to evidence the State had led during sentencing procedures, Stofile was a serial rapist who had slim prospects of rehabilitation. He had also shown no remorse because he had failed to take responsibility for his crimes – a key factor of remorse, she said.

Marshall told of how the women had begged Stofile to leave them alone but that he hadn’t cared about their pleas.

“He then chased them away like animals,” she said. “He treated the complainants like animals.”

She said that, while Stofile was a church leader, he had carried out “horrendous” deeds against the complainants.

“He preyed on them in the early hours of the morning when it was dark and quiet. Almost like a hunter waiting for his prey,” said Marshall, adding that his other robbery victims might also have been raped had it not been for the bravery of one of the women, who had screamed, and because in the incidents with the other robbery victims, he had needed to catch a lift to work and didn’t have enough time.

While Stofile had asked for forgiveness, he had maintained that he hadn’t raped the women. Marshall argued that this came down to “self-pity” on his part as he knew he was facing a long term of imprisonment.

Stofile’s defence lawyer, Tania Kloppers, asked that the court also look at her client’s personal circumstances, arguing that there were substantial and compelling circumstances to justify a deviation from the minimum sentences. He had been gainfully employed, a diligent worker, was a father with dependants and was a first-time offender.

Judge Ashton Schippers is expected to hand down sentence on June 26.

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Cape Times