Members of the Phoenix community held a placard demonstration outside the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Members of the Phoenix community held a placard demonstration outside the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Gardener accused of raping 67-year-old Phoenix woman

By Nadia Khan Time of article published Mar 11, 2021

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DURBAN –A PHOENIX man, who was accused of robbing and raping a 67-year-old pensioner, was denied bail in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The accused, 48, who cannot be named until he pleads, was arrested and charged with house robbery and rape.

A police source said the woman lived alone following the death of her husband last November. Her spouse died as a result of a heart attack. The source said the widow was in the lounge when she heard her dogs barking outside.

"She peeped through the kitchen window and nothing was amiss. As she was about to return to the lounge, she came face to face with the accused in the kitchen. He allegedly took a knife from the sink, held it to her neck and instructed her not to shout.“

The accused allegedly demanded jewellery and money.

"When she told him she did not have jewellery, he pushed her upstairs and into the bedroom where she gave him R1 000 from her handbag. She hoped he would leave. However, he allegedly instructed her to remove her clothing. When she refused, he forcefully undressed and allegedly raped her."

The source said the man, who does gardening for residents, told her to leave the front door unlocked as he needed alcohol and would return.

After the accused left, the woman alerted neighbours and relatives. He was apprehended by residents and handed over to the police later that day.

On Monday, some of the residents protested outside court. They demanded the accused be denied bail.

“As we commemorate International Women's Day (March 8), we wanted to take a stand against the violence against women. We can no longer remain silent. People trusted this man,” said Nancy Bridgemohun, who arranged the placard demonstration.

She said they would attend every court appearance to protest against his release and a motorcade would be held in Phoenix at the weekend.

“On Monday, we handed over a memorandum with 190 signatures to the court against his release on bail. We hope to hand over another memorandum with 2 000 signatures to the court at his next appearance. He should never get bail. Justice must be served.”

The case was adjourned to Monday. The accused was remanded into custody at Westville Prison.

The pensioner's relative said: “She is too afraid to return home and is now living with relatives. Her son passed away four years ago and she was mourning the death of her husband and her daughter (the latter died in January). If he (the accused) is found guilty, he must face the wrath of the law. Crimes against women, especially the elderly who are defenceless, should not go unpunished. We now leave it in the court’s hands.”

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