Zimbabwean rapist pastor sentenced to two life sentences for rape and murder in South Africa

The Mahikeng high court in the North West on Tuesday sentenced a 50-year-old pastor from Zimbabwe to two life terms and 30 years for rape and murder.

According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Henry Mamothame, Lucas Chauke was also found to be a Zimbabwean national who is in the country illegally. He committed his offences in Hammanskraal, outside Pretoria.

Mamothame said Chauke’s first victim was a 53-year-old woman, who he raped in May 2017 in Temba. The woman was known to him as he was a pastor in the area. Chauke took the woman to a secluded area under the pretence of assisting her spirituality.

“Upon arrival, he repeatedly raped her and subsequently tied her to a tree, before fleeing the scene. After a while she managed to untie herself and ran to ask for help. She managed to report the incident to the police, who started searching for the suspect,” Mamothame said.

He was sentenced to life for this rape.

In May 2018, Chauke took a 55-year-old woman to the same secluded area and raped her. He tied her to a tree before leaving the scene.

“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,” Mamothame said.

In August 2018, Chauke took another 55-year-old woman to the same place and attempted to rape her, but seemingly failed. He then tied her to a tree and left her to die. Mamothame said he was sentenced to 15 years for murder.

Chauke was arrested and linked through DNA to the three incidents.

Mamothame said in aggravation of sentence, prosecutor advocate Benny Kalakgosi urged the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence, as the offences committed were serious.

He further argued that Chauke took advantage of unsuspecting women, who trusted him as a priest.

Judge Frances Snyman agreed with the state and described Chauke’s actions as horrific.

North West director of public prosecutions Rachel Makhari-Sekhaolelo lauded the prosecutor and the police for the successful conviction and sentence.

“We welcome this conviction, especially when we are reflecting on the plight of women during the 16 Days of Activism. This fight needs to be activated 365 days to be victorious against this scourge,” she said.

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