Laston Moodley, 26, is facing a count of rape and murder after the little girl died in hospital last month. Picture: Karinda Jagmohan

DURBAN - The man accused of raping and murdering a 7-year-old child had a stepdaughter of his own, it had been revealed. Laston Moodley, 26, is facing a count of rape and murder after the little girl died in hospital last month.

The child cannot be named, Magistrate Irfan Khalil ordered at the Verulam Family Court. The court road was blockaded on Friday morning as hundreds of residents from Waterloo in Verulam protested.

On the morning of July 28, the girl was raped and stabbed in the Waterloo area, and left for dead. She succumbed to her injuries in hospital, said police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele.

Moodley was arrested in the wake of the girl’s death. He told the Family Court that he never knew the child and had been falsely accused.

He was applying for bail and gave evidence through his attorney.

“I live with my common law wife who has a 9-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. My stepdaughter lives with her grandmother and stays with us during the holidays. I have an excellent relationship with them,” he said. 

Moodley who works in Umhlanga has also been accused by the protestors of being a drug dealer. But in court he described himself as a regular member of the local church, and a citizen with no previous convictions.

But the people in the gallery protested this. The gallery was made up mostly of angry protestors from Waterloo who shook their heads animatedly as they heard Moodley would be able to pay R10 000 bail.

“Mmm shame,” they laughed, as an isuZulu translator revealed that Moodley said he was afraid to stay in jail while waiting for trial.

“I’m scared. There is unhygienic conditions in jail and I’m afraid I might contract TB. I have had recurring nightmares since I was arrested,” Moodley said, adding that police assaulted and robbed him during his arrest.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE