Zimbabwean priest raped women, tied them to trees and left them to die

A 50-year-old Zimbabwean priest who lured women to remote locations to rape them before tying them to trees has been expelled from society.

He took advantage of his position of trust to do this.

Lucas Chauke was given two life sentences by the North West High Court for both murder and rape. Chauke was also sentenced to another 30 years in prison on two more counts of murder and rape, according to NPA provincial spokesman Henry Mamothame.

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He claimed that the Zimbabwean status as a citizen of Zimbabwe living illegitimately in South Africa had been established.

Chauke, a well-known priest, preyed on three victims between 2017 and 2018.

In the first incident of 2017, Chauke pretended to help a 53-year-old woman with her spirituality as he took her to a remote location next to a dam.

The Zimbabwean priest then raped the woman several times when they arrived, tied her to a tree, and then fled.

According to Mamothame, the victim was able to free herself from her tree and ran for help. Chauke was given a life sentence for this offence.

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The second incident happened on May 10, 2018, when Chauke led a 55-year-old woman to the same remote location and sexually assaulted her then tied her to a tree. He then fled the area.

The woman tried to free herself, but was unsuccessful, and her decomposing body was later found still fastened to the tree.

“He was sentenced to life for murder and a further 15 years for rape,” said Mamothame.

That same year, on August 3, 2018, Chauke took a 55-year-old woman to the same spot and tried to rape her, “but seemingly failed. He then tied her to a tree and left her to die,” he said.

Chauke was sentenced to 15 years for murder.

“Chauke was eventually arrested, and he was linked through DNA specimens to all other incidents,” Mamothame said.

Chauke was sentenced by Judge Frances Snyman, who referred to his actions as horrifying and also made reference to the trust he betrayed towards ladies who respected him.

The North West’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr. Rachel Makhari Sekhaolelo, applauded the conviction.

Particularly now, as we consider the plight of women during the 16 Days of Activism. To defeat this scourge, this fight must be activated 365 days a year, she said.

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