A man, who was arrested last week in connection with the rape and murder of a 4-year-old girl, had earlier tried to assault the child’s mother too, a court in South Africa heard Monday.

On May 16, the victim’s mother had taken her to a friend’s residence where she left the girl with few other children. The mother then went to a bar where she was accompanied by the accused, identified as 26-year-old Johannes Mans, who was also her colleague. After drinking, they returned to the friend’s home, local website IOL reported.

At the residence, the two continued to drink and went to sleep in the same room. That was when the unidentified friend saw Mans trying to rape the victim’s mother when she was fast asleep. The friend immediately stopped the man, the court heard Monday, News 24 reported.

The accused waited for a while for the friend to sleep after which he entered the 4-year-old girl’s room, carried her outside, and raped her in the bushes. He then strangled her to death.

The incident came to light a few hours later when the mother went to the child’s room and found her missing. She then went back to her residence, but couldn’t find the child there. A missing report was filed and following a search, the child’s body was found.

"Subsequent to the search conducted in the area, the girl's clothes and naked body were found in the bushes. Preliminary investigation revealed that the young girl was allegedly raped and strangled," police spokesperson Colonel Amanda Funani said, IOL reported.

A manhunt was launched for the accused, who was traced and taken into custody two days after the murder, Hijazi Channel reported. He was charged with multiple offenses including kidnapping, rape, and murder. He remained in police custody as of Tuesday.

The incident comes weeks after a 16-year-old boy in Zimbabwe raped and murdered a 53-year-old woman. The victim was walking alone when the suspect hit her on her head with a log and raped her as she lay dying. He then stole her money and fled the scene. Following a search, the teen was taken into custody 2 days after the incident.

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