Tshepo Tau appeared in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday on charges of rape and murder. Picture: Lizéll Muller

Kimberley - A young man who raped and murdered his stepmother will most likely continue to remain a threat to society while he is still alive.

“He has a very poor prognosis for rehabilitation,” expert witness, Captain Elmarie Myburgh, who is stationed at the Investigative Psychology Section of the South African Police Service, said of Tshepo Kennedy Tau, who was earlier convicted of murdering and raping his 51-year-old stepmother.

Sedia Meriam Moemedi’s mutilated body was found in Lerato Park by her sister on June 11 2011, a week after she was killed.

Myburgh pointed out that Tau, who before the age of 20 was found guilty of raping a nine-year-old child, could be classified as a serial sexual offender.

Tau, smartly dressed in a black suit with a turquoise formal shirt and a waistcoat, and sporting massive gold rings on each of his fingers on his right hand as well as a flashy gold watch, sat confidently and with an air of self-assured arrogance in the accused’s box. At times, he casually swung his glasses around, while he draped his other arm over the back of his seat, as he listened to the testimony presented by the State before his sentencing.

Earlier in the morning, Dr Keith Netsa Kirimi, head of Psychiatry at the West End Hospital, told the Northern Cape High Court that Tau had anti-social personality disorder, also known more commonly as psychopathy, sociopathy and dissocial personality disorder.

“The social workers’ report on Tau indicates a history of pathological parenting, characterised by an absentee father and substance abuse. His personality is one of serial violations and disregard of others’ rights as shown by frequently assaulting his mother’s boyfriend, his ex-girlfriend, ‘always fighting for a good reason’ and showing no remorse,” Dr Kirimi stated in his report.

“He admits to being aggressive, impulsive when angry and boasts about it, including intimidating one of the occupational therapists who was assessing him.”

Dr Kirimi said the social workers’ report on Tau referred to an abusive father, an overdose of tablets at the age of 10 as well as an incident in which Tau was locked up in a mortuary as a child. He admitted, however, that one of the characteristics of a anti-social personality disorder was deceitfulness.

Dr Kirimi also pointed out that persons with anti-social personality disorder often lacked empathy and tended to be callous, cynical and contemptuous of the feelings, rights and sufferings of others.

“They have an inflated and sometimes arrogant self-appraisal such as feeling that ordinary work is beneath them. They may also be excessively opinionated, self-assured or cocky.”

He also referred to a lack of empathy, self-appraisal and a superficial charm as features that may be distinguishing of the disorder.

Myburgh, in her pre-sentencing report requested by the State advocate, Adele van Heerden, from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, pointed out that a person could be classified as a serial sexual offender after being found guilty of two or more sexual offences.

“The accused was arrested and found guilty of theft when he was only 14 years old. Seven years later, he was again found guilty of theft and sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment. At the age of 19, he was found guilty of raping a nine-year-old girl and now he has been convicted of raping and murdering his stepmother and stealing her cellphone.”

Myburgh said that offenders found guilty of multiple sexual crimes were difficult to rehabilitate because the crimes were linked to their sex drive.

“Rapists are among the highest re-offenders.”

She also referred to the incestuous behaviour of Tau, who had stated earlier that he had a mother-son relationship with his stepmother.

“This close family bond did not deter him from committing these crimes.”

His previous criminal records also did not act as a deterrent in preventing him from committing more serious crimes, Myburgh pointed out.

“If he was not arrested, he would have continued with his criminal behaviour. He has indicated that he has no respect for the law and also no concern for the consequences of his criminal behaviour.”

She added that granting him parole or bail would have no effect on preventing him for re-offending. “The rehabilitation of serial offenders under the best circumstances is questionable and the current theory is that they cannot be rehabilitated. A sexual offender is the most difficult type to rehabilitate and as yet there are no rehabilitation programmes that provide a cure.

“As long as a person like this remains sexually active, he is at risk of re-offending. Research has shown that sexual offenders don’t stop raping women by themselves. They are only stopped when arrested, incarcerated or dead.”

Myburgh added that serial sexual offenders could not be rehabilitated and would continue committing similar offences once released from prison.

“In this case, the accused has refused to take responsibility and has shown no remorse. He poses a great risk to all females in society.”

Advocate Paul Nagel, from Legal Aid South Africa and appearing for the accused, pointed out that studies in the field of serial sexual offenders in South Africa, was almost non-existent and that sexual offenders in the South African context were very different to the rest of the world. He added that there was also no indication what was the driving force behind this type of behaviour or why someone became a serial rapists.

Nagel said further that there was a difference in opinion on how many offences one had to commit to be classified as a serial rapist with some authorities using this term to refer to someone who has raped at least 10 times. He added that there were also no statistics regarding the number of rapists who were re-offenders or the number of people who were released from prison for sexual offences who had not committed further crimes.

Judge Bulelwa Pakati postponed the case until next year for a report from Tau’s probation officer.

“I want to have a report on the personal circumstances of the accused including interviews with him and his family as well as the victim’s family.”

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