A double life sentence was handed down against murderer and rapist, Phillip Mailula aged 27 at the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court sitting at Kwaggafontein.
Mailula was sentenced on Friday, 18 September. Mailula raped a nine-year-old girl and strangled her to death then concealed her body in the bushes in Mametlhake.
The court heard that after the incident, Mailula returned to his residence and pretended as though nothing happened. He later disclosed what happened to someone, however, changed the facts and mentioned that he instead witnessed two men committing the murder and rape against the girl. Moments later, the story broke and spread around the community after the discovery of the girl’s body and police were immediately summoned.
“The family told the police that they were still anticipating to report the girl as missing before the sad news. A case of murder was registered and immediately police launched an investigation which also unearthed that the victim was also raped. During the investigation, Mailula was questioned and pointed out two men aged 47 and 44. The two men were arrested but were later released as they were vindicated as they could not be linked. Their release was not well received by the community as they went on rampage and torched the two men’s houses,” said the police in a statement.
Further investigations led to Mailula’s re-examination where he became overwhelmed and confessed. He was then apprehended and released on bail where he absconded. A warrant of arrest was issued against him and was traced where police managed to rearrest him. On Monday, 14 September, Mailula pleaded guilty.
When handing down the judgement, the Presiding Judge Thando Mankge said that the sentence should send a strong message to the public and serve as a deterrent to other criminals intending to commit similar offences, especially at this time when the country fight Gender-Based Violence. The Judge further indicated that this country cannot be free unless children are free.
The sentence was handed down as follows:
Count 1 – murder, sentenced to life imprisonment.
Count 2 = rape sentenced to life imprisonment.
The accused was also found to be unfit to possess a firearm and his name will be entered into the register of sexual offenders.