Child rapist and mur­derer given three life sen­tences

Daily News - - NEWS - ZODIDI DANO

MI­NEN­TLE Lekhatha’s mother, Than­diswa Lekhatha, said an apol­ogy from the man who kid­napped, bru­tally raped and mur­dered her five-year-old daugh­ter would not bring her dead child back.

“I have to live with the fact that I have lost my child be­cause of you,” she said.

Lekhatha was tes­ti­fy­ing in sen­tenc­ing pro­ceed­ings for con­victed child mur­derer Xolani Lantu.

Yes­ter­day, Judge Derek Wille sen­tenced Lantu to three life terms – on one mur­der count and two rape counts.

He added an ad­di­tional five years for the kid­nap­ping count.

In her tes­ti­mony, Lekhatha told the court the pain of los­ing her first-born and only daugh­ter was in­de­scrib­able.

Mi­nen­tle went miss­ing on June 3 last year. Her body was dis­cov­ered the fol­low­ing day, un­der a bridge in Soet River, Strand.

Lantu was her grand­mother’s boyfriend and at the time of the mur­der they had just bro­ken up.

The be­reaved mother said she had fu­ture plans for her daugh­ter.

Lekhatha said her son and only other child, who was three at the time of the mur­der, was highly af­fected by Mi­nen­tle’s death.

“My son got coun­selling. Af­ter her death he be­came a bully, hit­ting other chil­dren and re­fused to go back to the crèche that they had both at­tended. We needed to change schools for him,” she said.

Lantu, 35, has five chil­dren aged five to 14.

He ad­mit­ted to killing Mi­nen­tle, but said his ac­tions were in­flu­enced by al­co­hol.

Judge Wille said he was not con­vinced that al­co­hol con­sump­tion jus­ti­fied de­vi­a­tion from the pre­scribed min­i­mum sen­tence of life im­pris­on­ment.

He ques­tioned the sin­cer­ity of Lantu’s re­morse. “This is a case where a five-year-old con­sid­ered the ac­cused as her (friend).

“She trusted this man and he takes her away, bru­tally rapes her twice and chokes her to death. He stays quiet about it even af­ter her fam­ily asks whether he knows of her where­abouts.

“Is it true re­morse, deepseated re­morse or su­per­fi­cial re­morse thrown out there to get a lighter sen­tence?”

Judge Wille said Lantu was caught on CCTV footage which he could not ar­gue against. Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity re­gional spokesper­son Eric Ntabazalila said the sen­tence was wel­comed.

“The tenac­ity of State pros­e­cu­tor Maria Mar­shall in en­sur­ing a suit­able sen­tence against the ac­cused can­not be over em­pha­sised. She re­jected the ac­cused’s plea of guilty when she was un­happy with the ac­cused’s fac­tual al­le­ga­tions forc­ing the court to en­ter a plea of not guilty for him.

“Be­cause of that, she se­cured a suc­cess­ful con­vic­tion and a sen­tence fit­ting the crime,” Ntabazalila said.

THAN­DISWA LEKHATHA

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