Morrises’ attacker given 20 years’ jail

2009-12-11 00:00

FARM attacker Bongumusa Mbanjwa (22) was sentenced to an effective 20 years’ imprisonment yesterday for housebreaking, robbery with aggravating circumstances and the attempted murders of Richmond farm couple Anthony and Caroline Morris last month.

The high court in Pietermaritzburg ordered he must serve at least 15 years in jail before he can be considered for parole.

Acting high court Judge Ben van Heerden said by some miracle the couple escaped death.

Anthony Morris (65) suffered at least 10 stab wounds, which caused both his lungs to collapse.

The prognosis for his wife, Caroline (63), remains unclear as she is still in the intensive care unit receiving treatment for a fractured skull and brain clot.

The judge said it appears that Anthony Morris was almost certainly saved by a “quirk of fate” when Mbanjwa’s hand prevented a co-assailant’s knife from penetrating the neck deeply.

”This happened when the accused grabbed Anthony Morris by the neck to prevent him from resisting the attack on him.

“Then the accused had the audacity to put up the wound he sustained to his hand as a result as a mitigating factor,” the judge added.

After tying the couple up and obtaining their safe keys, Mbanjwa and his two companions stole firearms, money and other belongings. They attempted to flee in the Morrises’ vehicle, but had to abandon it when they were unable to open the farm gates.

Van Heerden took issue with the views expressed by an unnamed politician in a recent newspaper report who said that farm attacks are mostly the result of farm workers being badly treated or commercially exploited by farmers.

The judge said in his experience this is not applicable to farm attacks in KwaZulu-Natal, and did not happen in this case.

It would rather appear to be an “irresistible urge” by criminals to acquire something of value without earning it, coupled with a “primitive desire for wanton violence, brutality and blood”.

”Such conduct must be stopped and the imposition of appropriate sentences will make a contribution in this regard,” he said.

 

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