Cheers as killer, se­rial rapist gets five life sen­tences

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ZELDA VENTER

AP­PLAUSE erupted in the pub­lic gallery of the Gaut­eng High Court in Pre­to­ria af­ter a judge sen­tenced a se­rial rapist and killer to five life terms, as well an ad­di­tional 210 years be­hind bars.

Charles Mthethwa, 35, a Zim­bab­wean na­tional, is un­likely to ever walk the streets again as he is al­ready serv­ing six life terms for a se­ries of other rapes and an­other mur­der.

He will serve his 11 life terms at the Kgosi Mam­puru II Prison in Pre­to­ria.

The 10 vic­tims in his last rape spree were in court yes­ter­day to hear his sen­tence.

While Judge Papi Mosopa was deal­ing with the im­pact which the rapes had on the vic­tims – one of whom was a 14-year-old girl – sev­eral of the vic­tims cried bit­terly. They later said they were de­lighted Mthethwa would never walk the streets again.

His crime ca­reer be­gan in 2013 when he raped the wife of a po­lice of­fi­cer in Tho­hoyan­dou. He was ar­rested at the time, but man­aged to evade the po­lice. He con­tin­ued with his rape and rob­bery spree, up to July 2015, when he was ar­rested by the com­mu­nity in Ivory Park fol­low­ing one of the rapes.

His DNA was then linked to an ar­ray of other rapes, rob­beries, kid­nap­pings and even two mur­ders.

Mthethwa was last year sen­tenced in the High Court Tho­hoyan­dou on sev­eral of the crimes. He re­ceived six life terms. He sub­se­quently ap­peared in the High Court in Pre­to­ria on the re­main­ing 24 charges against him, as these crimes had been com­mit­ted in and around the city.

Mthethwa pleaded guilty to all the charges. Apart from ad­mit­ting that he had acted un­law­fully and say­ing that he was sorry, he hardly spoke at all.

He re­fused to take the stand to ex­plain the rea­sons for his reign of ter­ror. Mthethwa yes­ter­day, in a quiet voice, said he un­der­stood his sen­tence, be­fore walk­ing down to the hold­ing cells.

He had ac­com­plices dur­ing some of the rapes but did not dis­close their iden­ti­ties. His vic­tims gasped in shock when Judge Mosopa re­marked dur­ing sen­tenc­ing that these men were still prowl­ing the streets.

In­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer War­rant Of­fi­cer Hendrik Visser said po­lice would not give up un­til these peo­ple were also be­hind bars.

The judge de­scribed Mthethwa’s con­duct as bar­baric and said he was not a can­di­date for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

He has HIV/Aids and never used a con­dom dur­ing the rapes.

He dragged his vic­tims into dark bushes, where he ei­ther threat­ened them with a knife or throt­tled them un­til they handed over their money. He then raped them.

In one case he stran­gled the mother of a 3-year-old, Miriam Modika, to death. She had been on her way to work when she was over­pow­ered on the out­skirts of Cen­tu­rion. Af­ter he had stran­gled her to death, he left her body in the bushes.

Her mother, Lucy Modika, told In­de­pen­dent Me­dia that she had for­given him, as God would deal with him one day.

In one case a woman who had ex­pe­ri­enced fam­ily prob­lems, was pray­ing at a “sa­cred place”, when Mthethwa sud­denly ap­peared, went down on his knees and asked her to also pray for him.

While the vic­tim was pray­ing with closed eyes, he pounced, throt­tled and raped her.

Judge Mosopa said: “Women and chil­dren can­not walk the streets with­out fear of vi­o­lence… It ap­pears gov­ern­ment is fight­ing a los­ing bat­tle.”

Se­rial rapist Charles Mthethwa was sen­tenced to five life terms and a fur­ther 210 years in the Gaut­eng High High Court, Pre­to­ria.

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