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Life sentences for suspects who raped 14-year-old girl welcomed

A judge’s gavel. Picture: Pexels

A judge’s gavel. Picture: Pexels

Published Mar 7, 2022

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DURBAN - The North West Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, yesterday welcomed the life sentences for two suspects who gang-raped a 14-year-old girl at Letlhabile near Brits in 2019.

The perpetrators, aged 27 and 32, were sentenced by the North Gauteng High Court on Friday, according to regional police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Amanda Funani. The names of the perpetrators were kept private to protect the identity of the minor victim.

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The case was investigated by the Brits Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit.

The perpetrators also received 15 years each for kidnapping, 10 years each for attempted compelled rape and five years each for assault.

Another perpetrator, aged 26, who was involved in the incident but did not take part in the abuse of the minor, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing her cell phone.

At around 4am on Wednesday, December 25, 2019, the 14-year-old victim and her friend were heading home from a music festival and were confronted by four males.

Funani said that one of the males grabbed the victim and took her into a nearby bush, where he and the other suspect began raping her.

The men asked the 14-year-old’s friend to rape her as well, but when they found out he was only pretending to do so, they assaulted him. The two then continued to rape the minor.

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A third male, the 26-year-old suspect, then fled the scene with the victim’s cell phone. Funani said he also robbed other people at the music festival of their cell phones.

“One of the victims who was robbed of their phones at the festival then saw the police who were on patrol and informed them about the robbery and identified the 26-year-old male as the suspect,” Funani said.

“As a result, the suspect was arrested while the initial gang-rape suspects were apprehended later the same day and found in possession of items reported stolen by the victims. Subsequent to investigations into the robbery as well as the rape of the minor, the three accused were also found in possession of the minor victim's cellphone and clothes,” she added.

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The 27 and 32-year-old suspects were linked to the rape by DNA evidence.

The fourth male accused, who was a part of the group initially, fled the scene. Funani said he was released because he could not be linked to the crimes.

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