Grahamstown - A man who raped and tortured an elderly Eastern Cape woman to death was sentenced to two life terms, Dispatch Online reported on Tuesday.

Siyabonga Ntshabalala, 26, and his co-accused Zukisani Tulani, broke into the home of Kei Mouth resident Anne Roebert, 75, in 2012.

When they could not find the key to her safe, the pair decided to rape her to make her “speak the truth”, according to Ntshabalala's plea statement.

After that she was burnt with an iron and strangled with a cord.

Judge Nomathamsanqa Beshe said in the Grahamstown High Court that his callous crimes showed a complete disregard for the right to life, dignity, privacy, security and property.

“What resistance would a 75-year-old woman offer to two young men in their 20s?” asked the judge.

She sentenced Ntshabalala to life for both the rape and the murder. He was sentenced to a further 10 years for housebreaking with intent to rob, rape and murder, and 18 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Tulani has pleaded not guilty and his trial was set to start on Tuesday. - Sapa