Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Gun was held to victim's head

July 31 2007 at 06:43PM

Each time a Durban woman objected to being kissed while she was being raped, her attacker pressed a Smith and Wesson revolver to her head, the Scottburgh High Court heard on Tuesday.

His HIV-positive accomplice then asked her: "Was it fun? Are we having a good time?"

That was after the second time she had been raped by the same man in less than two hours.

The young woman, who may not be identified, said the "shock" and "gasp" of a friend was the first signal that a pleasant evening braai would turn out to be a night where she and her friends were raped while two others had to watch.

'Then it looked like they were getting cross. They kept on asking for a laptop'

"I saw a shocked expression on her face," said the quietly spoken woman. "I looked around and saw three people with weapons in our faces."

The three men - Mthokozisi Mbambo, 29, Sithembiso Shelembe, 23, and Wonder Mchunu, 26 - allegedly raped the three Durban women at a beach-house in Pennington, south of Scottburgh, on December 29 last year. They are accused of attacking and robbing another couple later that night.

The young woman said their faces had not been covered during her ordeal and she had identified them at a identity parade in Durban on January 12.

Asked if she had seen the men again, she said: "They are here in the court room".

Judge Leona Theron ordered that the public vacate the court, except for the media on condition that they did not name the victims.

Earlier, prosecutor Dorian Paver told the court DNA from two of the accused was found inside the three victims, and saliva from one of the accused was found on two cigarette butts found at the crime scene.

The young woman, who has emigrated since her ordeal, said the men had initially promised not to harm anyone.

The woman and her two female friends were then ordered out of the swimming pool and onto the terrace with their two male friends who had been preparing the braai.

They were then ordered into the main bedroom of the Pennington simplex.

The attackers ordered the two men to sit on the floor, while the three women were ordered to sit on the bed.

The woman said Shelembe kept on talking to those in the room while his two accomplices rummaged through the house.

"He told us to light his smoke," she said. "He (Shelembe) had a cigarette in his mouth and he wanted us to light it for him."

She described how the three men became agitated as they kept on demanding where there was a laptop.

"Then it looked like they were getting cross. They kept on asking for a laptop. They were getting aggravated."

It was then that Shelembe asked the woman if he could see her private parts. At first she said she did not hear him. The demand was repeated.

"I looked at him shocked. I said no."

She asked Shelembe why he wanted "to do that. They had told us they weren't going to hurt us.

"He said he won't hurt me."

The woman said Shelembe told her "he just wants to see."

She still refused but then: "He said I'll shoot you and he pointed the gun at my head. I started getting cross and then realised that they are going to hurt us and my friends.

"I showed him. I had my bikini pants and I pulled it aside."

Under cross-examination she was asked how could she have been so certain that the three men in the court were the attackers.

"It took a little bit over two hours. I was staring at them the whole time."

She said that as she was being raped by Shelembe on the bed, Mbambo came right up to her and asked: "Was it fun? Are we having a good time?"

The three men had earlier pleaded not guilty to all the charges of rape, indecent assault, robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mbambo also pleaded not guilty to attempted murder. In the indictment it emerged that Mbambo was diagnosed as being HIV-positive "as far back as 2000".

The indictment said that Mbambo raped the women "in spite of his knowledge of the potential transmission of a virus leading to fatal consequences".

Mbambo's advocate Anneliese Harrison said Mbambo was nowhere near the crime scene, but in the company of his brother Xolani Mbambo on the night.

Advocate Abdul Khan said his client, Mchunu, would argue that he was at home with his sister.

Shelembe's advocate, Dean Govender, said Shelembe would "elect to remain silent".

However, Govender said: "My instructions are that he (Shelembe) was never there."

Govender said Shelembe had advised him that one of the fathers of the three women had been in the police cells and taken pictures of the three men with his cellphone.

The woman said her father had never been to the police cells at Durban's Brighton Beach police station, where she identified the accused in an identity parade. - Sapa


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