Muthi murder youth jailed

2007-12-15 00:00

A teenager who admitted beheading a seven-year-old and is now prepared to testify against his employer, who apparently offered him R20 000 for a human head, was sent to prison for 23 years yesterday.

The seventeen-year-old accused, whose name may not be disclosed as he is a minor, murdered Vuyani Nqulunga for financial gain close to his home in the Clermont area at the beginning of last month, acting Judge Jeff Hewitt said during sentencing in the Durban High Court.

After Hewitt had earlier described the much publicised murder as a heinous act, he said yesterday that it was a mitigating factor that the teenager agreed to the act only after his employer, Petros Goosebenn (42), had repeatedly urged him to do it.

The youth said Goosebenn kept at him for months to get him a human head, showing him the R20 000 and counting it in front of him.

The teenager decided to commit the murder after he had started dreaming about what a difference R20 000 could make in his life and that of his family.

The fourth of seven children, he arrived in Durban at the beginning of the year to find work after having left school in grade nine last year.

He earned R70 a day from Goosebenn, a plasterer.

Goosebenn was also arrested and is still due to stand trial.

The teenager said he met Vuyani at a shop on the evening in question and invited him to his room, where they ate bread together before he fatally stabbed the little boy.

When the teenager took the head to Goosebenn, he apparently said he could not pay him at that stage.

The accused was arrested after he told a friend what he had done.

According to Vuyani's grandmother, parts of her grandson's face had also been cut off.

Hewitt said that he took the teenager’s age and background into account while he was considering a sentence and that these counted in his favour.

Hewitt ordered that the

youth serve the first eight years of his sentence at the Ekuseni prison at Newcastle, where he could learn skills to help him when he is released from prison.

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