The East London Magistrate’s Court yesterday heard how two men accused of rape allegedly used dishwashing liquid to “clean” their victim shortly after they had gang-raped her in front of her minor children.
Harrowing details emerged during the bail application of three youths accused of raping the East London woman last month.
The incident took place on January 25 when five men allegedly broke into the woman’s home.
Three of the suspects were arrested a week later while the other two remain at large.
The woman cannot be named due to the nature of the crime.
The investigating officer on the case, Warrant Officer Sandile Tongo of the East London Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit took the stand yesterday to oppose bail.
He said the three men had entered the woman’s home shortly after 2am and found her sleeping with her 10-year-old daughter.
The woman’s 16-year-old son was sleeping in the next room.
“The accused pointed at the complainant with a knife while she was lying on her bed and demanded her bank card and a correct pin number saying that if she refused or gave the wrong pin number they were going to rape and kill her 10-year-old daughter,” Tongo testified, adding the woman had cooperated.
“Two of the accused then raped the woman and when they had finished, they took a bottle of Sunlight dishwasher and injected it into her vagina.
“They squeezed the bottle and then inserted their fingers inside of her. While this was happening the others were busy stealing valuable electronics inside the complainant’s house.”
Tongo told magistrate Nazeem Joemath that he was still waiting for forensic results with regard to DNA samples taken from the victim and her attackers.
Asked by state prosecutor Queode Botha how he knew that he had the right suspects in custody, Tongo replied: “Accused one and two left their accomplices inside the victim’s house to go withdraw money at an ATM situated outside [an East London butcher].
“They were photographed at the ATM while using the complainant’s bank card and pin to withdraw R3000 in cash.
“Accused number three that same morning at 7am went to Hemingways Mall and attempted to withdraw money from the same bank card but he could not as the daily withdrawal limit had been reached. He was caught on CCTV footage.”
Tongo said when arrested the three men were together and were found in possession of the woman’s belongings.
State witnesses included members of the public to whom the three men had allegedly sold some of the stolen goods.
The suspects, all aged 21, yesterday took the stand and said they intended to plead not guilty to the charges.
At the time of their arrests accused one and two were on bail and had a warrant of arrest issued by both the East London and Mdantsane Magistrate’s Courts in connection with unrelated robberies.
Joemath said the interest of society preceded that of the bail applicants, taking into consideration that the suspects were arrested while out on bail.
“The public’s confidence with the criminal justice system is at an all-time low. The public feel that people are released on bail too easily and the lack of confidence in the system can lead to people taking the law into their own hands.
“It is abundantly clear that the applicants failed to disclose why it is in the interest of justice for them to be released on bail and therefore the application is unsuccessful,” Joemath ruled.
The three men were remanded in custody and the matter was postponed to March 29 for further investigation. — firstname.lastname@example.org