Despicable thug who raped lesbian neighbour to ‘make her a woman’ jailed for life

A man who raped his lesbian neighbour in a bid to “make her a woman” has been jailed for life in South Africa.

Albro McLean, 41, from Cape Town, sexually assaulted the woman, who was described as a “long standing neighbour”, on 28 August, 2017.

He was serving a suspended sentence for the sexual assault of a minor at the time of the attack, South African news outlets have reported.

McLean had known his victim, who was 21 at the time of the sexual assault, since she was a child. It was widely known in the local community that she is a lesbian.

On the day of the sexual assault, the woman received a phone call asking if she had seen McLean’s sister Malenesha, who was missing, according to IOL.

The victim went for a walk shortly afterwards, and when she returned, she found Malenesha sitting on the doorstep of her home, a South African court heard.

While she was talking to Malenesha, McLean asked her into his yard where they smoked cigarettes together. She was subsequently invited inside, where Malenesha promptly disappeared.

When the victim asked where Malenesha had gone, McLean told her she had left to visit a friend. When she tried to leave, he became aggressive.

“He threw her on the bed and told her that he would make her a woman,” said Eric Ntabazalila, National Prosecuting Authority Western Cape spokesperson.

“He started hitting her with his fists and smothered her with a pillow on her face. She became dizzy and he raped her.

“She cried and told McLean that she was a lesbian but he continued to rape her.”

High Court upheld rapist’s sentence, saying he ‘lacked empathy’

The victim told her mother what had happened after the sexual assault and McLean was arrested. She attempted suicide and started self-harming following the rape.

McLean pleaded not guilty to rape and assault charges with aggravating circumstances at the Wynberg Regional Court on 15 March 2019 – however, his DNA was detected in a sample taken from his victim.

He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on 16 February, 2021, however he later appealed the decision to the Western Cape High Court.

His appeal was dismissed by Western Cape deputy judge President Patricia Goliath and acting judge Mas-Udah Pangarker on Friday (13 August).

In their decision, the judges noted that he was already serving a suspended sentence for the sexual assault of a minor when he attacked his neighbour.

They said his actions had made it clear that he was not interested in rehabilitation. He also has a string of earlier convictions for drug-related offences and robberies.

In its decision, the court said McLean “lacked empathy” and “showed no remorse” for his actions.

The decision was welcomed by the National Prosecuting Authority.

“Dismissing the appeal against the sentence of life imprisonment, deputy judge president Goliath and acting judge Pangarker heeded the call by the state to address the controversial issue of ‘corrective rape’ as a hate crime and serious form of gender-based violence, which is often not addressed on behalf of these victims,” said Ntabazalila.