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Trial of raped and murdered Janika Mello to start next year, court orders

Janika Mello, 14, was found murdered in her grandmother’s backyard in Heinz Park in September 2019. File photo

Janika Mello, 14, was found murdered in her grandmother’s backyard in Heinz Park in September 2019. File photo

Published Sep 28, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The trial in pursuit of justice for a Cape Town teenager will only begin next year, the Western Cape High Court ordered on Monday.

Janika Mello, 14, was found raped and murdered in her grandmother’s backyard on September 1, 2019.

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According to the indictment, Allester Abrams and Leeroy Rose were arrested on the charges.

However, Abrams, who is currently out on bail, only faces charges of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Rose faces a charge of murder and two counts of rape as the Grade 6 Northwood Primary School pupil was raped both vaginally and anally.

Janika’s grandmother, Pauline Butler, 56 right and her mom Janine. File photo: Monique Duval/Daily Voice

On that fateful evening, Mello and her friends attended a party at the Portlands Sports Grounds in Mitchells Plain.

Both accused were also at the event and it is alleged that Abrams assaulted Mello by slapping her through her face at the event.

At around 2am, Mello and her friends were dropped off close to her home by a taxi.

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She did not go home immediately as she was still with friends. Witnesses alleged that Abrams assaulted Mello again by grabbing her head and kicking her in the upper body and face.

It is alleged that a witness was told by Abrams that he would harm Mello.

Mello was last seen in the presence of the two accused and later that morning her half-naked body was discovered with her face smashed in with a concrete block.

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During their appearance at the Western Cape High Court, Judge Nolundi Nyati heard that a plea bargain would have been processed. However, Rose’s defence counsel said this never materialised.

The judge then granted a postponement for a trial date.

The accused are set to go on trial on July 25, 2022.

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