Farmer’s killer gets 30 years’

2012-10-15 00:00

FAMILY and friends of slain Peacevale farmer and “meticulous craftsman”, Russel Walford (73) expressed satisfaction on Friday at an effective 30-year jail sentence meted out to his killer by Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Kevin Swain.

Walford’s former employee, Trust Sibanda (20) of Zimbabwe, who was found guilty of murdering him and robbing him of his cellphone and a Jeep jacket, continued to protest his innocence.

The judge ordered he must serve 18 years of his prison sentence before parole could be considered.

Walford was famed for manufacturing high-quality, meticulously crafted furniture, including display cases for the Durban museum.

He also kept a herd of Jersey cows.

He died of head injuries and a fractured skull during a “brutal” attack on his farm, Sterkspruit, where he lived alone, sometime between July 3 and 4, 2010.

His body was found lying under a tree by his brother, Andrew, who is a well-known potter in KZN.

Swain said that it was apparent that Walford died after struggling with his killer, as the court heard that lacerations to his left arm and forearm were typical defensive injuries.

The doctor who performed the postmortem said a great deal of force was needed to fracture Walford’s skull in the way it was fractured.

Swain found, among other things, the fact that Sibanda was only 17 years and 11 months old when he committed his “terrible” crimes, amounted to circumstances that justified a lesser sentence than the prescribed one of life for premeditated murder.

Andrew and Leanda Walford said that the sentence would bring some sense of closure to the family. They expressed gratitude that Sibanda was convicted despite early hiccups in the police investigation, largely through the efforts of state advocate Sandra Senekal.

They planned to get in touch with close family members who are scattered all over the world.

They include Russel’s adult daughter and his wife, who moved to England a few years ago after she was shot and paralysed during an earlier robbery.

Swain said that attacks on farmers in which they are robbed or killed are all too common in our society. There is a public outcry about these attacks on a “most valuable and vulnerable sector of society”, he said.

“I say vulnerable, because farmers are by the very nature of their occupation, isolated and easy prey,” he said. The judge said the facts in this case graphically demonstrated that point.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.