NEWS

Residents Happy Rapist / Murderer Imprisoned

There is joy and optimism among the residents of Vunibuabua and Lepanoni settlements in Deuba this week. They are relieved that the man they feared, was sentenced to life imprisonment
31 May 2017 11:00
Residents Happy Rapist / Murderer Imprisoned
Mere Ailevu’s mother with her four young siblings.

There is joy and optimism among the residents of Vunibuabua and Lepanoni settlements in Deuba this week.

They are relieved that the man they feared, was sentenced to life imprisonment by Justice Salesi Temo last Friday, for murder, rape abduction and indecently annoying a female.

They had lived in fear of former judo champion Colanaudolu after he raped four victims. One of the victims, Mere Ailevu, who was 14 when the crime was committed died from massive head injuries.

Because people were afraid the cases were not reported to the Police until Mere died. Mere’s death, highlighted by the Fiji Sun last year, encouraged three other complainants to come forward and tell their stories.

Colanaudolu will serve a minimum of 30 years before a pardon may be considered by the President of Fiji.

The sentence has brought a closure to the lives of people in the two settlements where Colanaudolu once resided and lived a life of crime.

Lepanoni community leader, Jale Mareau, happy and relieved, said yesterday justice had been done.

They had waited for more than a year for it.

Beach in Deuba where the body of Mere Ailevu was found.

Beach in Deuba where the body of Mere Ailevu was found.

Mr Mareau, who is related to Mere, said they were happy with the decision made in court.

“We heard people saying that Colanaudolu is going to win his case. And the question we’ve been asking, if he is going to come back to the village, the communities will not be at peace and what is going to happened next,” said Mr Mareau.

He said this case had taught us especially parents to be more vigilant about our children.

He said people should monitor their children’s movements and whereabouts.

Mr Mareau said the case taught the people too that they needed to speak out and report incidents that allegedly break the law.

While peace has returned to the settlements, three women expressed their feelings but on the condition that their names were not identified. It demonstrated not only the sensitivity of this whole saga but also the emotional trauma that it caused.

They shed tears of joy when they heard about the sentence.

Since Colanaudolu’s life of crimes was exposed, they were worried about their young girls growing up in the settlements.

They could not imagine their girls being put through the pain, suffering and humiliation that the four victims suffered.

They said the victim, Mere Ailevu, was a quiet and hardworking girl who loved looking after her younger siblings while her parents were away.

Assemblies of God Pastor, Tavaga Narawa, of Lepanoni, said the law was the law and it would take its own course. Pastor Narawa said he would continue preaching the gospel to the people and they should realise where they stood. He said parents needed to put an eye on their children whereabouts.

For many of the residents, now they can refocus on what they do best – farming and fishing.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  lusiana.tuimaisala@fijisun.com.fj

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