Friday, June 7, 2013

Dad pleads guilty to raping, murdering 14-year-old daughter during visitation (Durban, South Africa)

SIMO MGOBHOZI was a non-custodial father, "estranged" from the mother of his teen-aged daughter. He raped the girl during one of her visits, then shot her eight times after finding out she was pregnant. 

I fear for the daughters he was living with....

Dad jailed for teen’s rape, murder

June 7 2013 at 05:39pm By RIZWANA SHEIK UMAR

Durban - A former Durban policeman has described in chilling detail how he murdered his 14-year-old daughter after he was charged with raping her.

The girl was pregnant with his child when she died in a hail of bullets as she tried to flee from her father, who was armed with his semi-automatic Walther P99 service pistol, 15 rounds of ammunition and a spare magazine.

Yesterday, Simo Mgobhozi, 41, pleaded guilty in the Scottburgh High Court to charges of raping and murdering his daughter, Nontobeko Zandile Mgobhozi.

He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and an additional 15 years for the rape.

“He knew his daughter was the only witness to implicate him on the rape charge.

“He killed her because he knew the baby would have proved fatal to his conviction,” prosecutor Khatija Essack argued in aggravation of sentence yesterday. “Clearly, the murder was premeditated.”

In a plea statement read out by defence lawyer Theuns Botha yesterday, Mgobhozi admitted that when he went to see the girl’s mother, Zinhle Khuzwayo, about the rape charges, his intention was to kill his daughter.

Mgobhozi learnt that his daughter was about 34 weeks pregnant with his child when he was arrested and charged with her rape in January last year.

The girl had lived with her mother, who had been estranged from Mgobhozi since Nontobeko was about four years old.

In June 2011, Nontobeko visited her father at his home in Isipingo, which he shared with his wife, their three daughters and another daughter from a previous relationship.

Mgobhozi said Nontobeko, who was 13 at the time, asked to sleep in his bed because she was scared. He said he later joined her and raped her in her sleep. She awoke during the intercourse, he said. He described having sex with his daughter as “a moment of weakness and sheer stupidity”.

In his guilty plea, he stated: “This charge of rape of my own daughter caused havoc in my marriage and had a negative impact on relations with my immediate and extended family.”

After the rape charge, Mgobhozi, based at Reunion in the railway police section, was suspended after 17 years’ service with the SAPS.

On March 1 last year, he armed himself and confronted Nontobeko and her mother at their home in uMlazi.

“I entered the room and explained my reason for my visit. I warned them that nobody was going to leave the room. I was very emotional, stressed and angry,” he said.

“I told them that we are all going to die and drew my firearm.”

He said that as Khuzwayo begged him not to kill them, he heard a door opening and saw Nontobeko trying to escape.

“I fired several shots in her direction. Zinhle tried to stop me but failed. I moved towards the door and continued shooting outside.”

The court heard that of the eight shots fired, five hit Nontobeko.

The Grade 8 pupil died at the scene of “perforated gunshots to the head”, according to the post-mortem report.

Mgobhozi said that after the shooting he panicked and left in a state of shock.

He had car trouble and said he stopped when he was approached by a group of people at an undisclosed location.

“I remember telling them that I had shot my girl,” he said. He said he handed his firearm, car keys and cellphone to the group and asked them to call the police.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with murder, after which he resigned from his job.

While awaiting trial, Mgobhozi was informed that a DNA paternity test conducted on the foetus confirmed that he was the father.

Mgobhozi, who has been in custody since his arrest, said he was truly remorseful and accepted full responsibility for his actions.

“I was ashamed of my behaviour and to this day regret what I had done to my daughter. It happened once and never again,” he said, adding he had tried to be a good father to Nontobeko by paying maintenance to her mother and assisting with other expenses.

Handing down sentence, Judge Gregory Kruger said: “The most shocking feature that strikes one is that you raped your own daughter.

“The consequences of your actions were made known in that your daughter fell pregnant. You found yourself in a horrible situation where you were going to be a father and grandfather to a child.” 

However, Judge Kruger said while the rape was serious, it was “not one of the most serious I’ve seen”.

Turning to the murder, he said he accepted that Mgobhozi had been angry.

“You wanted answers and that is understandable. But the difference lies in the fact that you armed yourself to seek those answers. Your intentions were quite clear.”

The court also noted the distance of 6m between the door of the home and where Nontobeko fell.

“She was very close to you. As a trained cop, you fired eight shots at her. Five shots struck her, two of those in her head. The gruesomeness of the murder and your actions preceding it cannot be offset by mitigating factors submitted by your counsel,” the judge said.

The defence had submitted the murder was not premeditated but was “triggered” by Nontobeko’s attempt to escape.

Before sentencing Mgobhozi, Judge Kruger said: “Society… to these courts to punish offenders of these crimes, severely. If the court doesn’t, society might take matters into their own hands. This we cannot let happen.”