May 11 2007 at 06:01PM
A Winterveld man involved in a series of murders, rapes, housebreaking and robberies in the Lyttelton area, was sentenced to three life terms by the Pretoria High Court on Friday.
Judge Francis Legodi sentenced vegetable hawker Steve Motsweni Motlou, 32, to three life terms and 84 years imprisonment (which will all run concurrently) on two charges of murder.
Other charges against Motlou included a rape charge, six charges of housebreaking with the intent to steal and four of housebreaking with the intent to rob.
Up until the end Motlou insisted that he was innocent, had nothing to do with any of the incidents and that the police had framed him by planting his fingerprints and DNA at the ten crime scenes.
Motlou - a father of four children with a long list of previous convictions - was part of a gang that terrorised Lyttelton and Eldoraigne residents between 1995 and 2005, breaking into a series of houses and progressively becoming more violent.
In the process, several houses were burgled, two women were gang-raped and robbed and two young friends, Eugene van Rooyen and Krappies Rossouw, were shot dead.
The court earlier heard how the seriously wounded van Rooyen, who had been shot in the face, had begged neighbours to help him. Van Rooyen died in hospital ten days later.
His friend Rossouw died inside their house where he was shot.
Motlou was acquitted on one of the rape charges because of a lack of direct evidence against him, although he was convicted on a charge of breaking into the home and robbing the rape victim and her husband of their car and other items.
The woman earlier told the court how two of the intruders had first tried to force her husband to have sex with her and when he could not, raped her in turn with one of the robbers forcing her to say: "fuck me, please fuck me" while he violated her.
Judge Legodi said he had no doubt that the woman had gone through the terrible and horrible ordeal of being raped in front of her husband, but there was not enough evidence to support a finding that Motlou - although inside the house - had been one of her rapists.
Motlou was however convicted of a second rape charge as only two rapists had been in the room at the time and Motlou's DNA was found on a cigarette discovered inside the rape victim's bedroom.
The rape victim earlier testified in tears that she had repeatedly begged the two men who raped her in vain to use condoms.
Judge Legodi said she would for the rest of her life have to live with the thought that her rapists might have punished her with a death sentence of Aids.
The Judge said the victim had clearly been traumatised by the incident and still received counselling.
He said rape was a serious invasion of a person's privacy and society looked towards the courts to protect them against this type of crime, which was on the increase.
Sentencing Motlou to life imprisonment on the two murder charges, Judge Legodi said nothing could replace a life. He said it must have been very painful for the victims' families to loose their loved ones.
The Judge said Motlou had never taken the court into his confidence and even after his conviction failed to explain to the court why he had committed the crimes.
He said it was clear from Motlou's long list of previous convictions - which started when he was still a teenager - that he had since his school days planned that jail would be his home one day.
Family members of Van Rooyen wept while Judge Legodi was delivering judgement.
Van Rooyen's father, Hennie, said no punishment was good enough for the loss of his son.
Van Rooyen's mother, Anita, earlier told reporters she would never be able to forgive his murderers.
She was bitter about the fact that a man with such a long history of crime was allowed out on the streets so that he could kill and rape and blamed the legal system and police for her son's fate. - Sapa