80 years for duo who raped and murdered Heinz Park teen Janika Mello

Heinz Park teen Janika Mello.

Heinz Park teen Janika Mello.

Published Jun 22, 2024


Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court has handed down a cumulative sentence of 80 years to the two men who raped and bludgeoned Heinz Park teen Janika Mello to death.

Reliving the horrific crime scene, Judge Pearl Andrews did not mince her words as she lambasted convicted killers Leeroy Rose and Allester Abraham while sentencing them on Friday.

The notorious pair appeared calm as the judge explained the provisions of the Child Justice Act and the implications of the sentence, saying there was cause to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentences.

Janika, who was a Grade 6 learner at Northwood Primary School in Woodlands, attended a karaoke session at Portlands High School in support of a local soccer club on August 31, 2019.

The teen was later dropped off by a taxi close to her home and her half-naked body was found in her backyard the following morning.

Co-accused Leeroy Rose. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers
Allester Abrahams attacked slain teen Janika Mello with a "big stone", according to co-accused Leeroy Rose. Picture: Armand Hough

A post-mortem report indicated that the teen suffered multiple vaginal and anal injuries, while crime scene photographs showed multiple used condoms at the scene,

During the trial, Rose turned on his co-accused and claimed that he saw Abraham throw a rock at Janika's head.

The duo were subsequently both found guilty on two charges of rape and one of murder.

During arguments yesterday State advocate Bonginkosi Maki argued that Rose should be sentenced to 25 years, while Abraham should receive life sentences for his crimes.

He argued that Rose should only be shown limited mercy as he was 16 years old at the time of the murder, while Abraham was an adult.

Maki accused Rose of violating the trust of Janika's family, who considered him a huis kind (child of the family) – murdering the teen in her own backyard.

Handing down the sentence yesterday, Judge Andrews indicated to those present that she believed Rose had concealed the identities of another person who could have raped Janika, pointing to the amount of condoms found at the crime scene.

“Accused 1 knows more about what happened on that night.”

She said the duo worked alongside each other to subdue, rape and kill the teen.

“The manner in which Janika was killed was particularly gruesome. The cause of death was determined as blunt force trauma to the head, neck and the consequences thereof. The extent of the injuries rendered her unrecognisable as she was bludgeoned to death.

“As if this was not enough, she was sexually violated. Her assailants' level of disrespect is displayed as they did not even cover her naked body.”

The judge said she believed that both accused were able to be rehabilitated.

Rose was sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder and received an additional 20 years for both rape counts. Abraham was given a similar sentence, however, received an additional eight months on a charge of assault.

The sentences will run concurrently and the duo will serve an effective 20 years in prison, while Judge Andrews also ordered that their names be entered into the National Sex Offenders Registry and that they be declared unfit to work with children in the future.

Janika's aunt, Waliswa Constable, said they were happy with the outcome and believed the court handed down the harshest sentence it could, considering the ages of the duo at the time of the murder.

“For us, we are fine with the outcome.”

Janika's aunt, Waliswa Constable, said they were happy with the outcome. Picture: Mahira Duval
Friends and family of Heinz Park teen Janika Mello after her killers were sentenced in the Western Cape High Court on Friday. Picture: Mahira Duval

Weekend Argus

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