Brutal killer: Victims’ family welcome 15-year sentence

2010-11-10 00:00

FAMILY and friends of Allistair (Coopie) de Lange (67), who was slain in his central flat by one of two assailants who also stabbed and injured his wife, Joan (64), multiple times on November 15,2007, welcomed an effective 15-year jail sentence imposed on his killer yesterday.

Pietermaritzburg regional court magistrate Bheki Khumalo sentenced Lungani Khumalo (22) to 15 years imprisonment for murder and to eight years imprisonment for the attempted murder of Joan De Lange but ordered the two sentences to run concurrently.

He commented during sentencing that Joan De Lange had been fortunate “not to die like her husband”.

Khumalo’s co-accused, Mzwandile Dlomo (22), was found not guilty last week of the attack on the De Lange’s as there was no evidence he had been present at the scene.

The court found that two people did take part in the attack and that they had formed a common purpose to commit the crimes of murder and attempted murder.

Khumalo was one but the other could not be positively identified since the only evidence the court had was a statement made by Khumalo during a pointing out to police at the crime scene to the effect that he and a person named “Mzwa” had attacked the De Lange’s.

Dlomo was found guilty, however, of possession of property that was stolen from Sanele Mthembu at knifepoint on September 25, 2004, for which he was yesterday sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment, of which half was conditionally suspended for five years.

Passing sentence on Khumalo yesterday, the regional magistrate said when a crime is prevalent sentences had to be imposed that would not only deter the accused but make other would-be offenders realise that it was not worth their while to commit such crimes.

The post mortem examination of De Lange’s body had revealed that he sustained several clear cut wounds to his chest which had penetrated vital organs.

His wife Joan was found to have been stabbed 13 times all over her body. Her wounds required stitching and she had testified that her ear was “hanging” from a cut.

The court took into account Khumalo’s age and personal circumstances and the fact he was a first-time offender.

But the magistrate said the court had to have regard to the interests of society which views murder with “revulsion and indignation”.

If sentences were too lenient communities would take the law into their own hands.

* In his statements to police, Khumalo said he and his companion entered the De Lange’s flat with a tomahawk and knife after seeing it was open.

They had needed money, he said.

He said a man had come from a bedroom and a woman from the lounge and a “fight” started. He had stabbed the man while his companion stabbed the lady. Afterwards he fled.

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