A KwaZulu-Natal man was sentenced to two life terms after being found guilty of murder, rape and housebreaking with intent to rape thanks to watertight forensic evidence.
According to a statement from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Menzi Dlamini had broken into a house in Ntabamhlophe, Estcourt, in September 2014.
He tried raping the homeowner, who later became a witness in the trial, but she managed to fight him off and he ran away.
"She saw him running in the direction of her neighbour's house," NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said in a statement. "The next morning, her neighbour was found dead and her house ransacked."
During the trial, regional prosecutor Samukelisiwe Mosia led evidence that secured Dlamini's conviction through witness testimony and forensic evidence after his blood was found on the victim's nightdress.
When Dlamini was arrested, he also had scratch marks on his face which were consistent with defensive wounds from the victim, indicating she had tried to fight off her attacker.
Last week, the Estcourt Regional Court found Dlamini guilty of housebreaking with intent to rape and murder. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to two life terms for rape and murder and an additional eight years for housebreaking.
The director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, Elaine Zungu, said the case demonstrated the vital role forensic evidence played in successful prosecutions.
"We trust that the facts of the case will also encourage witnesses to come forward and provide information and testimony in court to enable a positive investigation and a positive outcome in court.
"The sentence imposed is welcomed and it is hoped it will serve as a deterrent for would-be offenders. The prosecution and investigative team are applauded for their good work," added Zungu.