A convict, who has served 20 years in jail for raping two little girls and murdering one of them, says he is a reformed man and wants to be released to live in Durban’s Albert Park area and start his own handyman and carpentry business.
But a clinical psychologist has cautioned that he is a psychopath – and if he is ever released from prison he should be barred from having any contact with children. The community must also be made aware that he is free man, she said.
Thulakuhle Khumalo was just 21 when he pleaded guilty to the crimes and, after being declared a dangerous criminal, he was sentenced to serve 20 years before becoming eligible for the reconsideration of his sentence.
He is now having his day in court and Durban High Court acting judge Sharon Marks must decide his fate.
According to documents handed in to court, Khumalo raped the first child, who was four, in July 1994 after luring her with sweets. About a year later, he raped the second child who was six and he then strangled her to death.
A danger to the public
In imposing sentence, the trial judge described his actions as “horrendous” and said that he represented a danger to the public.
In a letter to prison authorities, Khumalo says he now wants his sentence converted to correctional supervision.
“I am totally changed… I was young when I committed the crimes and I am now a grown man. I want the chance to get back into my community. I will be actively involved by teaching young ones that crime does not pay,” he said.
By all accounts, Khumalo came from a stable home. He and his siblings all matriculated and Khumalo went on to study carpentry at a local college.
While an internal prison management committee has recommended that he be “reintegrated” into the community, the chairperson of the parole board Bonny Tshabangu testified that the board did not support this.
‘He is high risk’
“We believe he is high risk… we have to ensure the safety of the community is guaranteed. We believe he needs more intervention,” he said, after State advocate Denardo MacDonald pointed out that, even while in prison, Khumalo had been convicted of sodomising “a boy”.
In her evidence, clinical psychologist Mariam Parker said Khumalo showed psychopathic tendencies.
“He changed his version [about the crimes] several times… on the surface, he claims to accept responsibility but when I questioned him further, he came up with different versions and different excuses.
“I could not be sure when he was lying or when he was telling the truth.”
She said he presented an “immensely shallow account” of the effect of his actions on his victims and their families.
‘Callous, glib and a superficial charm’
“He appears to display both antisocial and psychopathic traits… he is callous, glib and has superficial charm. He is a pathological liar, manipulative, has lack of remorse and has failed to accept responsibility for what he has done.
“The literature says a psychopath cannot be rehabilitated.
“While criminal behaviour tends to decrease as offenders age, this does not seem applicable to psychopaths who commit violent crimes.
“He continues to be an extremely high risk for reoffending and will likely remain at this level of risk for the remainder of his life,” she said.
The hearing is continuing.