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'No mercy for criminals,' says magistrate

By unknown | 2008-03-05 00:00:00.0

Given Mahlalela

Given Mahlalela

A Mpumalanga magistrate has vowed to hand down stiff sentences in an attempt to end the escalating crime in the Nkomazi area.

Nelspruit regional court magistrate William Wilken has jailed three men for life and 16 months for raping a 22-year-old pregnant woman.

Prince Lubisi, 23, Santos Nyambanga, 27, and Paul Mashaba, 35, will spend the rest of their lives in jail for the crim.

Wilken said the additional 16-months sentence was for stealing a cell phone from the woman.

The pregnant woman lost her baby as a result of her ordeal.

The victim and the rapists are all from Mangweni Trust near Komatipoort.

Passing sentence, Wilken said: "Cases of rape are gruesome and unbearable to society."

"I would like to tell everyone here that what happened to these men will happen again.

"Those who are here must pass on this message. I have no mercy for criminals."

Police said that the men had gang raped the woman at gunpoint last September.

Tonga police spokesman Constable Mzwandile Nyambi said: "They dragged the woman from her bed and repeatedly raped her while her husband was sleeping."

Nyambi said that suspects were under the influence of alcohol. They had climbed through a window of the house.

Lubisi pleaded guilty, but claimed that his friends were innocent. He said he had a rocky relationship with the woman.

"We went there because the woman instructed us to go."

He denied that they had entered through a window.

"We walked through the main door, not the window," Lubisi said.