Nathan Fourie was jailed for life by the Port Elizabeth High Court. Picture: Raahil Sain/ANA

Port Elizabeth - A 28-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape of a mentally disabled woman who has the intellectual capacity of a toddler. 

Nathan Fourie was found guilty last week and was sentenced in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday. 

Fourie raped the woman at a half built house a few meters away from a home in Bethelsdorp where the woman's family had gathered to celebrate a relative's 21st birthday on June 4 last year.

The woman’s uncle had caught Fourie with his pants pulled down.

An uninvited Fourie had attended the celebration but both him and the woman had disappeared after which family and community members started to search for the woman.

The woman was discovered by her uncle after another family member heard her screaming. 

Throughout the trial Fourie denied that he had raped her and later claimed he was unaware that she was mentally disabled. 

Fourie denied attending the birthday celebration claiming instead that he had merely walked past the half-built house and heard the woman calling his name before going inside. 

In handing down sentence Judge Jannie Eksteen said that Fourie had shown no remorse and did not take the court into his confidence as to how the events of that day unfolded.

Looking at the medical evidence Eksteen said that it was clear it was a painful experience for the woman. 

Eksteen dismissed Fourie's ignorance regarding her disability, adding that even an untrained eye could see that she was disabled. 

He said that Fourie's action in picking out his victim was premeditated.

Fourie's name will be added to the National Register for Sex Offenders.