Jeers as teen’s killers get 22 years

2012-07-02 00:00

MEMBERS of the crowded public gallery shouted “Go” and “Goodbye” as the convicted killers of a 15-year-old Mpophomeni girl made their way down to the high court cells to start serving their 22-year jail sentences.

According to the post mortem report, Lerato Nxele had sustained 48 stab wounds.

Her body was flung into a stream.

On Friday, Judge Isaac Madondo refused Thabani Dlamini (24) and Mbongeni Dlamini (23) leave to appeal against their convictions and sentences.

The two members of the “26 Gang” at Mpophomeni were found guilty last week of Lerato’s murder in September 2009.

Two others, Lindelani Ndingi (20) and Sphamandla Mbandlwa (21), were acquitted.

According to the court’s findings, Lerato was Thabani Dlamini’s girlfriend. He suspected her of betraying a member of his gang, who was killed by the rival “28 Gang”.

On the evening in question, the Dlaminis saw her walking in the area with a friend and attacked and killed her, stabbing her repeatedly with knives and/or bush knives.

When Lerato’s uncle, Phindo Mazibuko, tried to intervene, Thabani Dlamini threatened him with a bush knife and chased him away.

Judge Madondo found that there were compelling and substantial circumstances in the case that justified the imposition of a lesser sentence than life imprisonment, including the fact that alcohol had played a role in the offence; that the murder was not premeditated but occurred when the accused came acoss Lerato by chance; and that they blamed her for the murder of their gang member. They had also spent three years in custody awaiting trial.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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