Juveniles tell court of their killing spree

2011-09-14 00:00

THREE juveniles admitted in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday that they took part in four armed robberies in the Howick area on the night of August 27, during which they stabbed three men to death and tried to murder two others.

Their motive was to rob the victims of their cellphones.

The juveniles, aged 17 and 15 years, were found guilty by KwaZulu-Natal Acting Judge President Chiman Patel of all nine charges they faced.

The case was postponed so that probation officers can prepare pre-sentencing reports.

All three accused were accompanied in court by their guardians.

While the three pleaded guilty and described their crime spree in statements read to court, the sounds of women sobbing quietly echoed from the public gallery.

At one point a weeping woman was hustled out of the courtroom by one of her supporters.

The accused said they had been drinking together at kwaHaza and decided to go to the Mpophomeni area “to find victims that we could rob”.

They armed themselves with knives and walked along a footpath when they came across their first robbery victim, Muntu Shelembe.

“We surrounded the complainant and pointed our knives at him while demanding his money and cellphone.

“Although the complainant tried to resist we grappled with him and accused two [the 15-year-old] dispossessed him of his cellphone,” one statement read.

The accused said that while they struggled with Shelembe their first murder victim, Wiseman Mkhize, appeared on the scene and tried to assist Shelembe.

“We left the complainant and went to the deceased … we all stabbed the deceased several times on his abdomen. The deceased fell to the ground bleeding, whereafter accused three [17] searched him and took his cellphone,” the statement read.

Shortly afterwards they encountered Nkululeko Nkabini, surrounded him and threatened him with knives while demanding his valuables.

After he handed over his cellphone and charger to the group he started shouting for help from a nearby homestead and the boys fled.

On their way back home at kwaHaza area they were stopped by four adult men.

The teens said they drew their knives and attacked the men “stabbing indiscriminately”.

Two of them, Steven Madlala and Simphiwe Mnikathi, fell to the ground bleeding while the other two, Dumisani Zondi and Mondli Ndlovu, fled.

The youths searched the wounded men, who were still alive at that stage, removing a cellphone and tracksuit pants of one of the victims, before fleeing.

They later found out that the two men had died.

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