Fourth life term for robber

2009-10-05 00:00

A MAN already serving three life sentences for a series of rapes committed during a “terror” spree in Durban and Pietermaritzburg dating from 2003, was handed a fourth life term by Judge Kevin Swain in Pietermaritzburg on Friday for yet another rape committed at Taylor’s Halt on the night of July 23, 2007.

Vusi Mseleku (46) was further sentenced to a total of 80 years’ imprisonment for three counts of housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances, and attempted murder.

These sentences will automatically run concurrently with the life sentence.

Mseleku’s co-accused, Thulebona Zuma (30), who was found guilty of three counts of housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances, as well as attempted murder, was sentenced to an effective 20 years in jail. Judge Swain ordered that he must serve 12 years before he can be considered for parole.

The reason Mseleku’s sentences were much higher is because he is a third-time offender.

His co-accused was not convicted on any rape charges.

Judge Swain said the crimes committed by the two men all involved forced entry into the homes of the victims, when they kicked open the doors. They then “terrorised” and assaulted the occupants at gunpoint and ransacked the homes.

In one incident a victim was threatened with a hot iron.

During the invasion of the homes two of the occupants were raped. The judge said he could not imagine a “more brutal or ruthless” invasion of the sanctity of someone’s home.

He said the indignation that society feels for crimes such as those committed by the accused is vividly illustrated by the fact that the community burned Zuma’s car when it was spotted near the scene of a crime.

The attempted murder victim — Nhlanhla Mbanjwa — was a local resident who was shot and injured in a shoot-out between members of the community and the accused when the community attempted to arrest them after a housebreaking and robbery incident at Taylor’s Halt on July 24, 2007.

The crimes of which Mseleku was found guilty earlier this year by Judge Chris Nicholson involved a similar modus operandi.

Nicholson found him guilty of a “catalogue of crimes” and sentenced him to life imprisonment on each of three rape charges, plus a total of 48 years in prison for housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances committed in Inanda and Taylor’s Halt.

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