Calls for death penalty as man appears in court for girl’s murder

CRY FOR JUSTICE: Angry community members outsider the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court where a man accused of raping and murdering Michaela Williams appeared
CRY FOR JUSTICE: Angry community members outsider the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court where a man accused of raping and murdering Michaela Williams appeared
Image: PHILANI NPMBEMBE

Angry community members demanded retribution on Monday outside a court where a man accused of raping and murdering a 12-year-old girl in Cape Town appeared.

Many called for the return of the death penalty after discovering the man had been released on parole after serving part of a 20-year sentence for rape, before he allegedly attacked Michaela Williams.

The Wynberg Magistrate’s Court heard that the 48-year-old man, who cannot yet be identified, was released on parole in 2018.

He lived in the same neighbourhood as his alleged victim’s family.

Western Cape police said in a statement on Thursday that Michaela’s mother reported her missing on January 8, after which a search got under way.

“Vital information was followed as part of the investigation and the suspect [was]  interviewed,” the police said.

“The interview led to him pointing out where the body was.

“The suspect has subsequently been charged with murder.

“A postmortem will soon be conducted to determine how she died and whether more charges could be added.”

According to the charge sheet, the suspect is being charged with rape and murder.

Before the hearing started, Michaela’s mother, Beatrice Adams, burst into tears in the gallery.

The suspect, wearing glasses, a yellow T-shirt and tracksuit pants, was not asked to plead.

He stared straight ahead during the brief hearing.

A poster calling for the death penalty for Michaela Williams's alleged killer.
A poster calling for the death penalty for Michaela Williams's alleged killer.
Image: Philani Nombembe

Prosecutor Nicky Konisi told magistrate Goolam Bawa that the state would oppose bail and asked for a lengthy postponement.

“I would like to ask the court to bar the media and the public from publishing the name [and picture] of the accused until further notice.

“It is still early in the investigation,” Konisi said.

Bawa granted the request.

“The court is going to order that the identity of the accused [not be revealed] in any manner,” he said.

“Members of the media and the public are ordered not to publish his name or his picture.

“Members of the public, if you post pictures of the accused on Facebook, you may be charged.”

Police had their hands full removing throngs of angry people who could not find seats in court.

“This case is sensitive and emotions run high,” Bawa said.

“If you came to listen, please do that – listen.

“If we can’t control ourselves, it means we are part of the problem.”

Speaking through his lawyer, Kyle Jason, the suspect said he did not intend applying for bail.

The matter was postponed to April 14.

“The death penalty must be brought back,” activist Shariefa Daniels said outside court.

“I feel very, very sad.

“This man was out on parole on a rape case.

“Had the authorities told us about it we could have warned our children about him.

“The justice system has failed us.” — TimesLIVE

Community members demonstrate outside the Wynberg magistrate's court as the alleged child killer appeared inside.
Community members demonstrate outside the Wynberg magistrate's court as the alleged child killer appeared inside.
Image: Philani Nombembe

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