Man guilty of raping mentally ill woman

UNINVITED: Nathan Fourie is found guilty of rape. PICTURE: LONDEKA DLAMINI

A PORT Elizabeth man who stood trial for raping a mentally disabled woman, has been found guilty. Nathan Fourie, 28, was convicted in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday for raping the 25-year-old woman.

Delivering his judgment, judge Jannie Eksteen said Fourie did not make a favourable impression in the witness box. He said he did not accept his version of events which took place on the night of June 4 last year.

The incident happened at a home in Bethelsdorp where the family celebrated a relative’s 21st birthday. Fourie said he did not attend the birthday celebration but Eksteen, delivering his judgment, said two witnesses testified that he was there.

In closing arguments on Friday, state advocate Ilse Loots said state witnesses who testified in the trial were honest and reliable and their versions were corroborated. However, Fourie’s defence lawyer said it was possible someone else had caused the genital injuries to the mentally disabled woman.

The court had earlier heard testimony from the woman’s 36-year-old uncle who took to the stand to give his account of how he went looking for his niece on the night. The family were at home in Timothy Valley, Bethelsdorp celebrating the woman’s sister’s 21st birthday.

The uncle said he was making a fire for a braai when he noticed an uninvited Fourie sitting and chatting in the yard. The woman’s mother came out looking for her daughter but when she could not be found, family members expanded the search saying Fourie was no longer in the yard. Family members went looking for her when her voice was heard from close by.

The woman was found in a house still under construction. The uncle said he went into a room and saw the two with their clothes pulled down and his niece pulling her trousers up. “When I got to the premises I saw Nathan and her standing facing each other.

When I got to her, she was crying and she said that she wanted go home and left.” He said Fourie was just standing there and the uncle asked him why he did what he did knowing the woman had a disability.

The uncle said he then punched Fourie. Clinical psychologist Isabel Marais, had earlier told the court the woman suffered from post-traumatic disorder and feared being without her mother.

The court adjourned and is expected to resume today, Yesterday defence advocate Gerrit Cillers asked to consult with Fourie about his personal circumstances and to “do research”.