A 50-year-old Zimbabwean priest, who used his position of trust to lure women to secluded spots where he raped them and then tied them to a tree, has been removed from society.
The North West High Court sentenced Lucas Chauke to two life terms for murder and rape.
NPA provincial spokesperson Henry Mamothame said Chauke was also jailed for another 30 years on two other counts of murder and rape.
He said the accused was verified as a Zimbabwean national, who was illegally living in South Africa.
Between 2017 and 2018, Chauke, a known priest, preyed on three victims.
In the first incident in 2017, Chauke took a 53-year-old woman to a secluded place near a dam, on the pretence of assisting her with her spirituality.
“When they arrived at the place, Chauke repeatedly raped the woman and then tied her to a tree before fleeing,” he said.
Mamothame said the victim managed to untie herself and ran for help. Chauke received a life sentence for this incident.
In the second incident, on May 10, 2018, Chauke took a 55-year-old woman to the same secluded place and raped her.
He then fled the scene.
“However, the woman was unable to free herself and her decomposed body was later discovered still tied to the tree.
“He was sentenced to life for murder and a further 15 years for rape,” said Mamothame.
That same year, on August 3, 2018, Chauke took a 55-year-old woman to the same spot and tried to rape her, “but seemingly failed. He then tied her to a tree and left her to die,” he said.
Chauke was sentenced to 15 years for murder.
“Chauke was eventually arrested, and he was linked through DNA specimens to all other incidents,” Mamothame said.
In sentencing Chauke, Judge Frances Snyman described Chauke’s actions as horrific and further alluded to the trust that he abused towards women who held him in high regard.
The Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Dr Rachel Makhari Sekhaolelo welcomed the conviction.
“Especially at a time when we are reflecting on the plight of women during the 16 Days of Activism. This fight needs to be activated 365 to be victorious against this scourge,” she said.—IOL News