File picture: Independent Media

Cape Town - A 33-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Willowvale Regional Court on Friday, for the rape and attempted murder of a teenager in the area in South Africa's Eastern Cape province last year.

A statement by the police said Xolisa Nantsula had chased three girls who were on their way home from a traditional ceremony in Busila Village, Willowvale. Two of the girls managed to outrun Nantsula.

"He chased them and caught up with the victim who was only 16 at the time. The accused stabbed the victim and later raped her," police said.

"When the victim pleaded with the accused not to kill her calling him by his name, the accused further stabbed the victim. He left her at the scene (open veld) thinking that he had killed her."

The teenager managed to crawl home and was later taken to hospital. After telling police of her ordeal, Nantsula was arrested.

Police said it welcomed the "hefty sentence", hoping it would serve as a deterrent to would-be rapists.