- A Durban man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for raping his 10-year-old niece after a night of heavy drinking.
- The man moved in with his niece's family after serving a prison sentence for housebreaking and theft.
- The child struggled to cope after the incident and had to change schools and move to a new area.
A Durban man who raped his 10-year-old niece after a night of heavy drinking will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was convicted and sentenced in the Verulam Regional Court.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Wednesday that the 37-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, raped his 10-year-old niece in May 2019 in Cornubia, Verulam.
The child lived with her father, siblings and grandmother, NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said.
"The accused came to live with them after he was released from prison after serving a sentence for housebreaking and theft. He slept downstairs while the child and her family slept upstairs.
"On the night of the incident, the accused returned home after a night of drinking with friends. He found the child's father sleeping downstairs. He then went upstairs to fetch his bedding and that is when he raped the child. He immediately left the house."
Kara said the child informed her sister.
"The sister told her to go back to sleep. They reported the incident to their granny the next morning and the child was taken to the Thuthuzela Care Centre, based at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital, where she received post-trauma services."
"The uncle did not return home and only went to the police to seek refuge when he heard that angry community members were looking for him. The police arrested him after realising that he was a suspect".
In court, the accused denied the rape and presented an alibi in his defence.
"He said he had been drinking on the night of the incident and was never at the scene of crime," Kara said.
However, prosecutor Ishara Sewnarayan pointed out that the girl gave evidence that "she had seen him when he switched on the room light".
"During cross-examination, the State was able to refute the accused's alibi, placing him at the crime scene. His friend also testified that on the night of the incident, he left his company for a while," said Kara.
Sewnarayan handed in a victim impact statement in which the child said: "After the incident, I had to move to a new area, leaving my school and friends behind. I am struggling to cope. Also, some people have said that I am bewitched and dirty after this incident."