Demons made me do it, skull-crushing rapist tells court
An Mpumalanga man who was sentenced to eight life sentences for smashing the skulls of three women and one teenager with a pick before raping them has told the court that demons made him commit the crimes.
Region Makhubela, 23, from Mkhuhlu near Bushbuckridge, was arrested on October 12 2013 after he was suspected of raping and murdering Wendy Mabunda, 16, at the Mkhuhlu taxi rank.
After his arrest, he was linked to the rapes and murders of Phethasi Mandlazi, 81, and Anna Honyini, 78, at their Mkhuhlu home on September 10 2013 and the rape and murder of a nurse Kotsana Msesi Tibana, 58, who was burnt in her house in the same area on September 29.
He faced 10 counts including four murders, four rapes, robbery and arson.
Judge Zeenat Carelse described Makhubela as an offender who showed no mercy for his victims and who was extremely brutal, savage and barbaric.
“When the social worker interviewed him and asked why he committed these crimes, he replied he was demon-possessed,” said Carelse.
The judge said Makhubela had first pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea at the 11th hour.
“The accused pleaded guilty to all 10 counts. He gave an account of events that culminated in the rape and death of the four victims. He said on September 10, armed with a pick, he went to the house where Mandlazi lived with Honyini.
“On entering the house, he smashed Honyini on the head and after she fell down, went into the other room where Mandlazi was, smashed her head and face, fracturing it, before raping her,” she said.
The judge said Makhubela then went back to where Honyini lay, repeatedly smashed her face, and raped her.
On September 19, he armed himself with a hammer and went to Tibana’s house where, after smashing her face and skull, he raped her and set her house on fire.
He said later on October 12, he killed Mabunda by smashing her face and skull, before raping her.
"The nature of injuries showed he absolutely had no mercy and it is quite clear he aimed for the faces and skulls as all the victims were crushed beyond recognition,” she said.
Carelse said his plea was not acceptable because he did not apologise to the victim’s families including Mabuda’s mother, who was in tears when relating her daughter’s life dreams.
“Your remorse was not genuine and the matter that you grew up watching your mother being abused by your father does not allow you to commit such offences,” said Carelse.
She sentenced Makhubela to life for each murder and each rape, 10 years for arson and 15 years for robbery. The arson and robbery sentences will run concurrently with one life sentence.
Carelse said all the life sentences will run consecutively.