Life for medics' rapists
"The first victim's marriage broke up after the incident while the second victim's one is on the rocks ... she is still going for counselling to try and mend it"
TWO men who raped paramedics attending to a badly injured girl in Johannesburg two years ago have been sentenced to life in jail.
Delivering judgment in the Johannesburg High Court yesterday, Judge Sharise Erica Weiner said the men's actions have traumatised paramedics not only in Durban-Deep (Roodepoort) where the attack took place, but in the whole country.
"Now paramedics no longer feel safe when they go into communities who need help," Weiner said. "They have to rely on police escort, and this affects police who have to do their own work."
The judge said despite evidence against Richard Tshifhiwa Luruli and Michael Khorombi being overwhelming, the two did not show any remorse and denied being involved in the crime.
The women were abducted by Luruli and Khorombi while attending to a burnt two-year-old girl whose mother had called the ambulance.
The two were convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm, eight counts of rape and two counts of compelling another to commit a sexual offence.
The court sentenced them to eight life sentences for rape, which would run concurrently. They also received 35 years each for robbery, compelling another to commit a sexual act and unlawful possession of a firearm.
They were found not guilty on a charge of possession of ammunition.
Khorombi and Luruli were arrested after the March 5 2010 incident when the two women were raped and robbed of their valuables.
The court heard that after the ambulance's arrival, the injured girl's mother went home to fetch clothes for the baby, and when she returned moments later, the ambulance and the paramedics were nowhere to be found. Her badly injured baby, who was crying hysterically, had been left alone in an open veld.
Weiner said the two men had no regard for an innocent child who was in serious need of the paramedics the men had abducted.
She said while the two victims may not have endured physical injuries after the attack, the court could not imagine the psychological effect it had on them.
"The first victim's marriage broke up after the incident while the second victim's one is on the rocks ... she is still going for counselling to try and mend it," the judge said.
Weiner said though life was tough for the two women since "this horrific incident", she hoped they would find strength to move on with their lives at some stage.
The father of one of the victims said outside court that the family was happy that the men were convicted. "Justice has been served, and we are glad these bastards will rot in jail."