Killers get life

2009-12-12 00:00

TWO killers of former KZN government spokesman Warwick Dorning (55) were jailed for life plus 15 years’ imprisonment each by Acting High Court Judge Ben van Heerden and assessors yesterday.

Welcome Madlala (34) and Mlungisi Hadebe (21) pleaded guilty to having formed a common purpose with the gunman, Sphamandla Madlala, who shot and killed Dorning during an attack on him and his wife, Dawn, and his mother, Denise Dorning (88), at Adamshurst farm near Howick on November 7.

They took a TV decoder, a DVD recorder, two cellphones, bags, spectacles and shoes.

The gunman was later killed in a shoot-out with police.

Howick policeman Michael Sokhela, who is also charged with the offences, will apply for bail on December 22.

The judge said yesterday the Dorning attack was yet another perpetrated on a farm at night, which was carefully planned, and where the assailants armed themselves with firearms knowing that they might be used with fatal consquences.

The motive was greed coupled with a “readiness, if not eagerness, to kill to satisfy such greed”, he said.

He said the assailants used more force than necessary to achieve their goal, as is often the case.

There was no evidence Dorning was armed or posed a threat to them.

According to his wife, he was a “gentle person” who would not have resisted.

The judge said neither of the accused seemed to flinch from the murder. On the contrary, after Dorning was shot they continued to rob his wife and elderly mother with his body lying on the floor.

“I cannot imagine any person being subjected to more severe trauma than that,” said Van Heerden.

He said Dorning worked diligently all his life and acquired high honour in his work.

The accused were granted leave to appeal against the sentences.

Dawn Dorning welcomed the life sentences imposed on Madlala and Hadebe for her husband’s “brutal and senseless murder”. She and her family thanked police, “especially Superintendent Pete Scott and Inspector Willem de Wet, for their dedication and speed in bringing the perpetrators to book”.

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