Lindokuhle Mthethwa has been handed two life sentences for the brutal kidnap, rape and murder. Credit: SUPPLIED
Durban - Convicted rapist and murderer Lindokuhle Mthethwa, sentenced this week to life in jail, is a “monster who deserves to rot in prison”.
Those were the words of Lungisani Ngema, the uncle of a 5-year-old girl Mthethwa raped and murdered.
Mthethwa, 22, of Etete in KwaDukuza, was handed two life terms for rape and murder, five years for housebreaking and another five years for kidnapping. He was convicted last week by Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel. His sentences will run concurrently.
He was convicted for the rape and murder of his neighbour, 5-year-old Velile Mngomezulu, who was asleep with her twin sister, Nomvelo, when Mthethwa kidnapped her. Both girls were visiting their father’s family during school holidays last year.
The court heard that Mthethwa had been partying that night. He used a knife to break the latch of the door to get into the house where the girls were sleeping.
Ngema, 24, said he was pleased with the sentence because Mthethwa had not been remorseful.
“He had a big ego when he appeared in court. This served him right. Neighbours are relieved that he has been sentenced,” he said.
Ngema was among those who went in search of the Velile when her mother discovered she was missing. He led the Sunday Tribune to the scene on Thursday.
He told of how he was horrified after the community alerted him and a paramedic to her body after they searched for hours on a cold July morning.
He said the little girl was stripped naked. Her clothes were used to tie her hands and legs. She had been tossed into a dark thicket near a stream. Ngema tried hard to contain his tears as he recalled the story of her discovery.
“Her face had bruises and the rock near the scene had blood stains which gave us the impression that after she was raped, the accused smashed her head. She had a huge scar starting from her forehead running down below her right eye. I was shaking as I went down the bank to pick up her body. I had one thing in mind - to get the killer and teach him a lesson. He was fortunate police got to him before the angry community.”
Velile died in hospital.
Ngema said his sister woke up early on the Sunday morning to prepare for church when she realised Velile was not in bed.
“She searched the house but Velile had disappeared. She then alerted the community members who launched a frantic search until they found her in the forest four hours later,” he said.
He said after she was found a member of the community suggested they go to Mthethwa’s home because he was the “prime suspect”. He had been linked to a number of similar incidents in the area.
“When they arrived at his house his mother was there but when Mthethwa realised he was wanted by the community, he fled his home.
“The members searched his bedroom and found a jacket with blood stains. After his arrest, the angry community wanted to burn down Mthethwa’s home. They sold the house and left the area. The jacket was used for DNA testing,” he said.
Velile’s mother, Senzeni Zungu of Mandeni, said her daughter’s death had left her traumatised. Zungu said although she had made peace with herself after the killer was sentenced, she would never forget the horrific scene.
“I was shaking but could not cry thinking about her. Police and paramedics swamped the scene. It was like I was watching a detective series. I only have memories of her badly swollen face and an image of her lying on the hospital bed,” she said.
Zungu said she was unable to go to court because of her emotions. “I did not want to come face to face with the killer. I did not have the strength to face him in court.”
The KwaZulu-Natal acting provincial commissioner, Major General Bhekinkosi Langa, commended the good work done by Umhlali detectives who investigated the case.
“The members presented enough evidence to the court, which led to a harsh sentence for the accused.
“I also thanked the community members for their role in making sure that the accused was brought to court immediately after he committed the crimes,” Langa said.
‘Monster’ jailed for rape, murder of girl 9 October 2016 Nkululeko Nene