Serial rapist sentenced to 15 life terms for reign of terror in 6 Western Cape towns

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Cape Town – A 66-year-old man was sentenced to 15 life imprisonments for 15 counts of rape in the Cape High Court on Thursday, police said.

In addition Herman Harker was sentenced to 30 years for four counts of abduction and two counts of sexual assault. 

The South African Police Service’s Divisional Commissioner of Detectives, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili, has commended the work done by detectives in Cape Town that resulted in Harker’s conviction and sentencing.

Harker arrested on June 13, 2018 on charges of abduction and rape in Ladismith. 

“The investigating officer’s diligence and hard work supported by the Forensic Service Laboratory’s evidence collected at other crime scenes and from the rape and sexual assault survivors revealed that Harker was wanted on five more cases of rape, abduction and sexual assault,” said police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili.

“All the cases that had been linked to Harker were then transferred to the Detective Services’ Serial and Electronic FCS Investigation ( SECI) which is a specialised section within Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS). Detective Warrant Officer Ernest Villet was tasked with the duty of ensuring that the police sent a watertight case to court as well as preparing witnesses for the trial.

Muridili said that the court heard during trial how Harker terrorised his victims, who were spread among six towns – Ladismith, Stellenbosch, Wolseley, Kleinvlei and Tulbagh between 2017 October and 2018 June. 

He had lured his victims, aged between nine and 23, under the pretence that he was looking for someone to walk him halfway to his destination or befriend them and give them money and then he would threaten them, at times with a weapon (firearm and a knife) before raping them repeatedly. 

He lured and raped his youngest victims aged nine and 13 while they were still in full school uniform and on their way home. His reign of terror ended when the Ladismith police arrested him in June 2018, Muridili said.

“The concrete foundation laid by the investigating officers enabled SECI to take forward a watertight evidence based docket to court and that has ensured this hefty sentence imposed on this serial rapist, Harker. It is the caliber and dedication of these investigators that bring closure to the survivors of rape,” said Mosikili.

By IOL Reporter

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