Cage fighter jailed for raping girl (13)
Court imposes long sentence, despite appeal from his lawyer that he is a father and that he apologised to the girl's family
Cage fighter Ryan “The Lion” van Niekerk was sentenced to 18 years in prison by the East London Regional Court for repeatedly raping a minor, it was reported on Wednesday.
Van Niekerk, 28, was sentenced to seven years for indecent assault, 15 years for sexual assault and 18 years for rape, the Daily Dispatch reported.
The sentences would be served concurrently.
He was found guilty of repeatedly raping a 13-year-old girl in 2009 and 2010.
His lawyer, Henry van Breda, asked the court not to give his client a life sentence.
According to the report, Van Breda asked the court to consider that van Niekerk was still young, a sportsman and a father.
“Yes, he has a previous conviction of perjury, but he apologised to the family and the police and that shows a person who takes responsibility for his actions.
“I ask that the sentences run concurrently. There’s still hope for the accused with the necessary guidance,” his lawyer said.
Van Niekerk reportedly cried after being sentenced.