'MATHE MUST rot in prison'

THE State wants convicted criminal Ananias Mathe to rot in jail for his crime spree.

Mathe, 33, who was convicted on 64 accounts of rape, attempted murder, robbery, car theft and housebreaking, will be sentenced tomorrow in the Johannesburg high court.

On Friday State advocate David Mothibe said: "The accused should be given a lengthy sentence considering the nature of his crimes and the fact that he is a danger to society."

Mothibe said this despite testimony from clinical psychologist Wicus Coetzee, who said Mathe "was full of remorse for his crimes and no longer a danger to society".

Coetzee told the court that Mathe, a Mozambican, lived with his mother and his father worked away from home.

"Mathe's mother is the only person in his life he really loves and he never had any real relationship with his father, who was seldom at home," Coetzee said.

The court heard that Mathe went to primary school but one teacher regularly gave him a hiding saying he was naughty.

Fearing that his mother would beat him and send him back to school, he went to live in a military base near his home.

"He was about 11 years old when he ran away from home," Coetzee said.

The court was told that Mathe's parents never taught him how to behave in society. He was sent to a second military base for further military training and at the outbreak of the war with Renamo he was given a uniform, an ID and guns.

He was later sent to Russia where he was trained in combat fighting, how to pilot a helicopter and how to remove man-mines.

Mothibe asked the court to impose the maximum sentence on all the charges Mathe has been convicted of.

He said the crimes were premeditated and caused outrage in the community.

Mathe's defence counsel, Liz Serrao, told the court to consider that "Mathe was remorseful and had the potential to be rehabilitated in custody".

Asked by the judge why he insisted on pleading not guilty to the charges put to him, she said Mathe told her that "it hurts too much to discuss".