Barrett farm robbers given stiff sentences

2010-09-10 00:00

DARGLE pensioners Collin and Nola Barrett yesterday welcomed sentences ranging from life imprisonment to 20 years’ and 17 years’ imprisonment imposed this week on three assailants involved in an armed robbery at their farm on September 16 last year.

The four attackers held guns to the couple’s heads and “intimidated and terrorised” them while demanding to know their bank card pin numbers and whereabouts of the safe.

Their hands and feet were later tied with shoelaces and they were shut in a bathroom. In the meantime their gardener, Erasmus Mncube — who gave the gang “inside information” — was taken to another room and shot dead.

Judge Leona Theron, sitting with assessors, yesterday sentenced Mnqobi Zondi (27) to life imprisonment for the murder of Mncube, who was shot “execution style” while tied up and unable to defend himself. The judge said Zondi appeared to have acted “on a frolic of his own” when he killed Mncube, apparently in anger because the robbers did not find money that Mncube had promised them.

For that reason, she acquitted Zondi’s co-accused, Gcina Mthalane (28), of murder, but convicted both him and Zondi of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

She sentenced both men to 20 years’ imprisonment for the robbery. Zakhele Ntamo, who pleaded guilty to taking part in the robbery, was jailed for an effective 17 years’ by Judge Anton van Zyl in another court on Wednesday.

“We prayed to God for justice and he has answered our prayers,” a satisfied Collin Barrett said.

In her judgment, Theron said the Barretts were fortunate not to have been physically injured, but, they no doubt suffered psychological trauma and the events of that day would “be etched on their minds for a long time to come”.

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