Horror attack relived

2014-12-12 00:00

“OUR home is now a place of horror where my husband’s death does not want to go away.”

These are the tragic words written by Thelma Heroldt, widow of slain Greytown businessman Cornelius “Joe” Herholdt (66). He was stabbed to death at his home on February 18.

In her victim impact statement handed to Judge Rishi Seegobin, Thelma said her husband’s murder affected her so badly she hasn’t been able to enter her bedroom since it happened.

“The crime was committed inside my house, and I saw my husband’s blood all over my kitchen floor including the passage, and at the entrance of my bedroom,” she said.

The couple’s younger son turned 15 years old the day his father was buried, she added, saying this memory will stay with him for the rest of his life.

The couple jointly ran a fresh produce business and Joe also had a building construction business, both of which have closed down, leaving 17 people jobless.

Seegobin yesterday convicted Sifiso Phungula (20), Lungisani Zungu (19) and Lindokuhle Mbhese (20) of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. They were arrested inside the house after a security company was alerted that a robbery was in progress.

Joe was tied up and was stabbed several times in his chest and in his back, both outside and inside his house. It was Zungu who did the stabbing, the court found.

They had been searching for a safe in the house, which they eventually found inside a wardrobe, but they were unable to find the key.

It was then that security guards and the police arrived.

While considering defence and state submissions on suitable sentences, Seegobin questioned why so many young people in South Africa fail to complete their schooling despite having “every opportunity in the new South Africa” to do so, and embark on crime and “wanton acts of violence”.

“I find that it is the young people between 16 and 35 years who commit the most horrendous crimes in this country.”

The judge said crime seemed to have become more violent of late with more serious weapons being used. Instead of Okapi knives, attackers were armed with firearms and hunting knives like that used in Herholdt’s murder.

“Is it going to take an entire generation to change the thinking that if you can’t achieve something lawfully you must embark on a life of crime?” he asked.

He said home invasions cannot be condoned in civilised society. “Rather than take something and leave it seems they must see blood flowing … to maim and kill. The more I do criminal sessions the more depressing it becomes,” he said.

He will deliver sentence today on Herholdt’s killers.

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