Friend confesses to raping, killing couple's toddler
Willie Simons entered into a plea and was convicted in the Western Cape High Court yesterday for the rape and murder of Zakeerah Hendricks.
The confession came as the trial of Spanish dentist Mario-César Deus Yela, accused of killing his three-year-old twins, Octavia and Maximo, was postponed to next year to allow time to find an interpreter.
Yela, 50, from Barcelona, is alleged to have killed the toddlers at a Hout Bay holiday complex in April last year.
Simons said he was at a house party in Manenberg in February 2016, when he carried Zakeerah into a Wendy house to put her down to sleep.
In his plea, Simons said he gave the toddler a bottle, undressed her, then raped her while holding his hand over her mouth so she did not make a noise. This was before he strangled her to death with his bare hands.
“I realised that my action could result in her death, but I continued nonetheless, making myself guilty of the crime of murder. I admit that after I was done I left the deceased on the bed in the same Wendy house of Felicia Simons. The deceased was found by her mother, Zaida Hendricks, on 28 February 2016 on the bed where I left her,” Simons said.
His case was postponed to next month for a pre-sentencing report.
“I humbly ask for forgiveness from the family of the deceased person,” Simons said in his plea.
In reaction to Simons’ confession, Hendricks’ paternal grandmother, Jeanette Daniels, said she was overwhelmed with sadness that her little grandbaby was no more. “She was a tiny baby and I’m feeling so sad. She could have been a mother one day and have her own children, but that was taken away from her.”
Daniels said she has already forgiven Simons and is leaving the rest to God.