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South African man who brutally raped and murdered a university student is sentenced to life in prison

A former South African post office worker who brutally raped and murdered a university student has been sentenced to life in prison.

The Western Cape High Court on Friday, November 2015, sentenced Luyanda Botha for the rape and murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana,19, who was a student at the University of Cape Town.

The court heard that Botha, 42, pleaded guilty to raping and killing the UCT student in August 2019.

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe handed Botha a life sentence for murder, two life sentences on both counts of rape, and five years for defeating the course of justice. The five-year sentence will run concurrently.

He will also not be eligible for parole for 25 years.

Botha was first charged with twice raping 19-year-old Mrwetyana, a first-year University of Cape Town student before killing her on August 24.

In his plea, he admitted that he arranged to be alone with Mrwetyana in the locked Clareinch Post Office on the said day after telling the student her parcel was ready for pick up.

Before then, the pair met two weeks earlier when she first enquired about the package.

He made sexual advances towards her but she did not respond and looked scared, he said.

"I grabbed her by the waist and forcibly pulled her closer to me... the deceased fought while I sexually violated her," he admitted.

"She managed to run to the door but I caught up with her and knocked her to the ground."

He then dragged her to the post office safe and locked her inside while she was still screaming.

"I choked the deceased and she fought back and kicked me."

The court heard that he took a 2kg weight, used to weigh the packages received at the post office, and used it to kill her, targeting her head.

Botha hid her body in the post office's safe and rturned the next day to remove her body in a large postal mail bag in his car. At night, he drove to a field in Lingelethu West, Khayelitsha, and dumped her body in a shallow hole before setting fire to it.

The killing sparked large protests over the high levels of sexual violence against women in South Africa.

During Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to visit the country on a royal tour, the Duchess of Sussex that she tied a ribbon to her shrine with a message she had handwritten in local language Xhosa.

It read: 'We stand together in this situation. Harry & Meghan. 26 September, 2019'.

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