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‘Serial rapist threatened to  kill victim’

2021-09-24  Roland Routh

‘Serial rapist threatened to  kill victim’
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A man involved in a relationship with the mother of one of the victims of a multiple rape accused, yesterday testified against the suspect. 

The boyfriend claims the then six-year-old victim told him that alleged serial rapist Gavin Gawanab threatened to kill her at knifepoint if she screamed. The witness, who cannot be identified to protect the identity of the victim, said the girl told him that “uncle Gavin grabbed me on the throat and pointed a knife at me, and said he will kill me if I scream.” 

The man told Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku that he and the girl’s mother have been dating since the victim was six months old, and he regarded her as his child. He further told the court that on that fateful Friday night, 26 September 2015, he and some friends had a few drinks after they returned from work. 

He said Gawanab was in the vicinity, but later left. However, the witness stated later that evening when he returned from buying more alcohol, he observed Gawanab sitting on some bricks near the room where the little girl was sleeping. 

The aunt of the girl in whose room the girl was sleeping then asked her mother to take her to bed as she wanted to go and sleep.  “After a little while, I just heard screaming coming from the room where the girl was sleeping. When I ran to the room, I found the girl on the lap of her mother. I immediately grabbed the child and ran with her outside as she was not breathing normally, and another lady brought a blanket onto which I laid her. I then started pressing on her chest to help her breathe,” he testified.

While he was carrying the child, his arms felt wet, and he later discovered it was blood. The witness further narrated that the mother of the child ran to a mobile police unit stationed nearby, and he followed her, but they could not reach the unit as the woman just fell to the ground and started to cry uncontrollably. An ambulance arrived, and they followed it back to the house in Havana, after which the aunt of the victim went with the child to the hospital.  At the hospital, he remained behind with the child, and when she woke up in the early morning hours, he asked her if she knew what had happened. That was when she told him that Gawanab strangled her and threatened her with a knife. Mbanga Siyomunji, the Legal Aid-instructed lawyer of Gawanab, asked the witness if he had seen the accused in the vicinity of the room prior to or during the screaming. 

The witness answered no, but said he indeed saw Gawanab near the room. Siyomunji also produced a DNA analysis report of  what was done on the child, indicating to the witness that no semen was found on any of the samples taken from the child. 

The witness merely answered that he does not know of DNA tests, but was certain about what the child had told him. Gawanab is facing 23 counts, including the rapes of minors, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, assault, attempted rape, alternatively indecent assault, kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to rape and rape, as well as crimen injuria. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges at the start of his trial, and put the onus on the State to prove each and every allegation against him. 

His crime spree of allegedly sexually assaulting under-aged girls is said to have started in December 2012 until his arrest in November 2019 after he allegedly raped a 10-year-old girl and cut open her genitals. He was on bail on the previous charges when he pounced on his last victim.  The matter continues on 25 October, and Gawanab remains in custody. The State is represented by Innocentia Nyoni.

2021-09-24  Roland Routh

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