Man accused of rape, murder of girl, 7, says he is 'honest'

Protesters could be heard chanting and singing outside the Verulam Family Court as a 26-year-old man accused of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl claimed that he was an "honest man".

He said he was willing to undergo fingerprint and DNA tests to prove his innocence.

Laston Moodley was applying for bail before a packed public gallery comprising members of the media, political parties and community members.

He is accused of stabbing to death and raping the girl in his home in Hammonds Farm, Waterloo, south of Durban on Saturday, July 28.

The court has asked the that the girl's name be withheld.

Through his lawyer Rajendra Nathalal, Moodley, an employee at a call centre in Umhlanga, claimed that he was innocent and that he was a "hardworking man who has no previous convictions".

The court heard that the accused lived with his common-law wife and her nine-year-old child.

In his submission to the court, he said he had an excellent relationship with his wife and stepdaughter and that he was a religious man who attended the Christian Reform Church in Phoenix.

"I am not a rich man. I work hard and am a responsible individual."

He also asked the court to "not be swayed by the media frenzy".

The fateful day

Describing his version of events of the day in question, Moodley said he had visited the Waterloo Spar to buy dinner for his wife.

"I am prepared to submit to DNA testing and fingerprints. I have never seen the victim in my life."

According to Moodley, when he returned home from Spar, he noticed his kitchen door open and appliances disconnected.

"A group of people then came outside and were shouting in isiZulu. I went inside, called the police and said someone had broken into the house. I also called my sister and asked for help."

He said when police arrived, he was assaulted.

"Two male policemen booted and punched me. They took R4 000 and bank cards. Police have no right to assault me."

However, State witness and investigating officer Captain Emanual Zulu, an officer for more than 25 years, said Moodley's guilt was beyond doubt.

He said two witnesses, both children around the same age as the victim, gave statements in which they claimed Moodley carried the body of the child out of his home.

"They said the child went into Moodley's home. He came out sometime later carrying her body. He left her outside his house."

The bail decision is expected to be delivered on September 3.

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