The Mpumalanga Division of the High Court, has convicted and sentenced Simo Thabethe (27), of Elukwatini to two life terms for rape and murder of a fifteen year-old girl.
According to provincial spokesperson for National Prosecution Authority Monica Nyuswa, Thabethe and the deceased met on Facebook and became friends for three months.
On 17 December 2020, the deceased and Thabethe arranged to meet each other face to face, and the deceased got an opportunity to meet him when she was sent to a local shop, to buy some hair dye.
“On her way to the shop, they met and he requested that they move to a secluded area, where they can have a private conversation, which the deceased resisted. He then grabbed her and dragged her into the nearby bushes, and raped her. In the process, the accused broke her neck which led to the death of the deceased. He further stole her cellphone and a cash amount of R57 and fled the scene,” she said.
Nyuswa also said Thabethe was arrested four months after the incident happened. This was after the discovery of the deceased’s cellphone which he gave to his brother.
In court, Thabethe pleaded guilty to all counts and was eventually convicted of rape, murder and theft. State Adv. Eugene Mathebula, handed in a photo album of the crime scene, which depicted the gruesome injuries, sustained by the deceased during the commission of the offence.
Mathebula further led the evidence of the deceased’s mother, who testified in aggravation of sentence and the impact it has caused the family. Judge Roelofse sentenced him to life imprisonment for rape, life for murder and twenty- four months for theft. The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, the effective sentence being life imprisonment.
The NPA welcomes the conviction and sentence, with the hope that it will discourage the would-be Facebook offenders. We further encourage Facebook users to always be vigilant, of the people they communicate with and more so when they decide to meet with them said Adv. Nkebe Kanyane.