Serial rapist handed 15 life terms plus 30 years, Cape Town

South African Police Service

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Serial rapist handed 15 life terms plus 30 years, Cape Town. Photo: SAPS
Serial rapist handed 15 life terms plus 30 years, Cape Town. Photo: SAPS

The South African Police Service’s Divisional Commissioner of Detectives, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili, has commended the work done by detectives in Cape Town that resulted in the conviction and sentencing of 66-year-old Herman Harker on 20 May 2020, at the Cape High Court.

Harker has been sentenced to 15 life imprisonments for 15 counts of rape with an additional 30 years for four counts of abduction and two counts of sexual assault.

He was arrested on the 13 June 2018, on charges of abduction and rape in Ladismith. The investigating officer’s diligence and hard work supported by the Forensic Service Laboratory’s evidence collected at the other crime scenes and from the rape and sexual assault survivors revealed that Harker was wanted on five more cases of rape, abduction and sexual assault.

All the cases that had been linked to Harker were then transferred to the Detective Services’ Serial and Electronic FCS Investigation (SECI) which is a specialised section within Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS).

Detective Warrant Officer Ernest Villet was tasked with the duty of ensuring that the police sent a water tight case to court as well as preparing witnesses for the trial.

The court heard during trial how Harker terrorized his victims, who were spread among six towns – Ladismith, Stellenbosch, Wolseley, Kleinvlei and Tulbach between 2017 October to 2018 June. He had lured his victims, aged between nine and 23, under the pretense that he was looking for someone to walk him halfway to his destination or befriend them and give them money and then he would threaten them, at times with a weapon (firearm and a knife) before raping them repeatedly.

He lured and raped his youngest victims aged nine and 13 years while they were still in full school uniform and on their way home. His reign of terror ended when the Ladismith police arrested him in June 2018.

The Divisional Commissioner of Detectives has commended the Investigating Officers that conducted thorough initial investigations on the six cases that were subsequently handed over to Det/WO Villet for further investigation, “The concrete foundation laid by the investigating officers enabled SECI to take forward a watertight evidence based docket to court and that has ensured this hefty sentence imposed on this serial rapist, Harker. It is the calibre and dedication of these investigators that bring closure to the survivors of rape,” said Lt Gen Mosikili.

The South African Police Service urges victims of sexual offences including rape to immediately report this crime to the nearest police station or to call the SAPS emergency number 10111. If you know of any child that is being sexually abused you may call the SAPS Crime Stop number, ‪08600 10111 or submit a tip off on MySAPS App.

All information received will be treated with confidentiality.

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