In The News South Africa

Nine-hundred counts of rape against Verulam “sex slave” stepfather

DURBAN, July 3  – The Verulam Family Court on Tuesday, heard that the 43-year-old man who allegedly held his stepdaughter as a sex slave is facing 900 counts of rape. The alleged rapes started when the child was five-years-old.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the 10-year-old child, is also being charged with sexual grooming, exposure of a child to pornography and sexual assault. He was appearing for a bail hearing on Tuesday.

The man is alleged to have moved to Verulam — about 30km inland of Durban — from Johannesburg six months ago with the child. The girl’s biological mother and father are both dead.

The court heard that the case was brought to the police’s attention when the girl was beaten and chased out of the room she was sharing with her stepfather. She approached a neighbour and relayed the alleged abuse she had suffered.

“Vibrators were confiscated, DVDs, dildos…from the accused,” investigating officer Nevarge Lutchminarain told the court. The suspect allegedly used the sex toys on the young girl.

Lutchminarain further told Magistrate Irfaan Khalil that he believed the accused was a flight risk and should be denied bail because he had no fixed address or identity documents.

He also believed that incarceration would ensure the safety of the accused, who had been threatened with violence by some community members.

“They have assaulted him. He has opened a criminal case against the community, so we are also opposing bail for his own safety as well,” said Lutchminarain.

“He is not safe out there.”

It was also revealed that the man had previous convictions for assault and malicious damage to property.

One of his former girlfriend’s had also been granted a protection order against him. Lutchminarain read from the woman’s application for the protection order: “He knows the ways and means of how to kill me and make it look like a suicide. When I think of the beatings I get scared for my life and my mum’s.”

The man had also threatened his stepdaughter if she revealed what he had done to her, said Lutchminarain, and had also threatened the child’s family. He said the child’s family had approached the accused, looking to take care of her.

“He refused, and refused them access to the child as well. The family went and met the child at school, bought her chocolates, and when she got home the applicant questioned her as to where she got the chocolates,” said Lutchminarain.

“The victim mentioned she had got it from the aunty. He contacted [the family] via cellphone and threatened them, told them not to ever get involved in the child’s life as he would kill them.”

Appearing for the stepfather, lawyer Mondli Mthethwa said that his client had two previous assault convictions and had “paid fines” in both cases.

In his affidavit, read into court records by Mthethwa, the man said he believed the case against him had been “fabricated”.

“There is no DNA evidence, there is no interview that has been conducted by the State to establish whether [the stepdaughter] is a credible witness and is able to testify.”

According to Lutchminarain, the child was medically examined, with results showing signs of vaginal penetration.

The bail hearing will continue on Thursday. The girl is currently in a place of safety. (ANA)

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