Killer to wait for fate

2012-08-07 00:00

THE judge who will sentence the man who murdered an elderly Port Edward couple over R150 he claims he was owed needs a cool head to decide the 20-year-old’s fate.

For this reason, Judge King Ndlovu explained to Sgidi Xolani Sonjica, he had postponed his case in the high court sitting in Ramsgate to Tuesday next week.

“I want to consider sentence very carefully,” Ndlovu said yesterday. “I don’t want to be emotional. This needs cool heads.”

Earlier in the day Sonjica — dressed in a shabby black T-shirt with “London” written on the front — pleaded guilty to murdering Eric (70) and Elizabeth Robins (75) on June 17, and was convicted.

Along with the murder charges was a count of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Sonjica had gone to their home intending to murder them if they did not give him R150 he claimed they owed him from when he had worked for them as a gardener.

Ndlovu challenged defence attorney Ahmed Seedat’s request to take into account that Sonjica had a tough upbringing and was poorly educated.

“Maybe he didn’t have a good upbringing, but look at the crime he committed,” the judge said.

“My parents were both uneducated. Many people who are uneducated know that you must go to the police if you’ve done something wrong.”

He also pointed out that Sonjica was not that young, had been working and had responsibilities.

Ndlovu further questioned whether Sonjica’s tears in court meant he showed genuine remorse.

“Was it crocodile tears?” he asked.

The judge noted that Sonjica had repeatedly stabbed the Robinses and that he had likely turned on Elizabeth Robins because he feared that had she survived, she would have blown the whistle on him.

“The only factor [in his favour] is that he was a first offender,” he said.

“The young man can still reform,” Ndlovu pointed out.

“But what other factor makes his personal circumstances outweigh the gravity of the crime?”

State advocate Dorian Paver — who asked for a jail term longer than a life sentence — submitted that it was the duty of the courts to protest against attacks on elderly people who had the right to enjoy their twilight years.

He said the court needed to consider retribution in deciding on sentence.

After the hearing, a policeman led Sonjica out of the court to the holding cells. His hands were behind his back and he was handcuffed.

In them he held a small supermarket packet of his belongings.

• witness@feveronline.co.za

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