Daring rapist gets 12 years in prison

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BINGA rapist Professor Mpala (36), who sneaked out of the Hwange courtroom during a brief adjournment while the magistrate was considering an appropriate sentence on Monday, was yesterday slapped with an effective 12-year jail term.

TINASHE MUNGAZI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Regional magistrate Dambudzo Malunga sentenced Mpala to 15 years in prison, but suspended three years for five years on condition of good behaviour.

Mpala was nabbed at Lwendulu bus terminus in Hwange in a Victoria Falls-bound kombi on Monday evening.

When Malunga quizzed Mpala why he did not return for court proceedings, he said he had gone to look for money to appeal his conviction.

“Your honour I had gone to look for money at renkini for my appeal after speaking to my lawyer,” he said.

“However, I was delayed by the person who was supposed to give me the money. I did not escape, but was simply trying to find money for my appeal. It was a mistake.”

Malunga was surprised at Mpala’s failure to show remorse for what he had done.

“You are not even showing remorse and regret for what you did. The court will, however, take into consideration certain factors such as that you are a first offender and married with two children, but that alone cannot save you for undermining the court,” said Malunga.

“You introduced the complainant to womanhood at an early age, let alone knowing her mental state.

“The courts have the duty to protect young girls and mentally challenged ones as well from people like you, hence there
is no escaping a custodial sentence.”

Mpala was escorted into court premises under heavy security. He was apprehended by five people comprising police and security personnel from Hwange Colliery Company while hiding in the commuter omnibus.

Mpala, a kombi driver, had pleaded not guilty to rape, but was convicted of raping a mentally challenged 16-year-old Binga girl in his vehicle.

According to the State led by Bheki Tshabalala, on February 21 2012 at around 5pm, the girl went to Govere business centre to buy mealie-meal.

After she emerged from a shop, it started raining heavily and Mpala offered her shelter in his Streetliner kombi which had two other occupants.

Mpala sent the other occupants to go and buy meat from the butchery before pulling the girl to the back seat. He closed her mouth with his hand and raped her.

Tshabalala said after the act, Mpala ordered the girl to get out and threatened her with unspecified action if she revealed the crime to anyone.

Between April 13 and 16, the girl fell ill and tests conducted revealed that she was pregnant.

She told her mother of the rape and a report was made to the police, leading to Mpala’s arrest.

Mpala claimed the girl was his girlfriend and that they had an affair for a month before having sex.