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Zimbabwean man gets three life sentences, 226 years for various crimes

In a landmark ruling, the Pretoria High Court has sentenced a 34-year-old Zimbabwean man, Leonard Lemmy Chauke, to three life sentences and an additional 226 years of imprisonment for his involvement in a series of heinous crimes.

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Chauke, who was convicted on 26 counts, including rape, murder, illegal migration, kidnapping, housebreaking, escaping from jail, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and robbery, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

According to The Citizen, the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) Pretoria spokesperson, Lumka Mahanjana, revealed that Chauke had initially been serving a 15-year jail term for housebreaking and robbery when he managed to escape from custody in December 2020, just two months into his sentence. After his escape, Chauke and his accomplices embarked on a crime spree in and around Olievenhoutbosch and Wierda Park, employing a consistent modus operandi.

Chauke and his team would reportedly forcefully enter the victims’ homes, robbing them of their possessions and subjecting female victims to gang rape in nearby areas. Their actions caused immense fear and distress within the community. The youngest victim was a 17-year-old girl. On June 7, 2022, Chauke and an accomplice shot and killed a 35-year-old man at a squatter camp in Olievenhoutbosch.


During his trial, Chauke pleaded guilty to all charges levelled against him and claimed that he had committed the offences while under the influence of drugs. However, his plea did not sway the court’s decision, and the judge handed down the severe sentence, reflecting the gravity of his crimes.

In the verdict, Chauke received three life sentences for two counts of rape and murder. Additionally, he was sentenced to 80 years in direct imprisonment for four counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, 90 years for six counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, 15 years for five counts of housebreaking, 15 years for three counts of kidnapping, 10 years for rape, 12 years for four counts of unlawful possession of ammunition, two years for escaping from custody, and two years for being in the country illegally.

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