Teenager (15) gets 27 years’ jail for murder

2007-12-06 00:00

A youth, found to have been 15 years old when he took part in the hijacking, kidnapping and murder of an Estcourt man, Ronny Seev (34), in June 2005, was effectively sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment by a high court judge in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Acting Judge Saatchi Govender sentenced each of the youth’s three co-accused — Johan Thabani Sithole (22), Musa Sithole (21) and Bongani Mdletshe (21) — to life imprisonment for the crimes, which he described as particularly callous and brutal.

The youth, who cannot be identified because of his age, was found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, murder and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The court sentenced him to a total of 52 years’ imprisonment but ordered some sentences to run concurrently so that his effective sentence is 27 years.

The three older accused were each sentenced to life imprisonment plus 20 years, which were also ordered to run concurrently with the life term.

Seev was ambushed as he approached the Papkuil Bridge in his Toyota Camry on June 21, 2005.

He was forced into the boot, driven to a secluded place at the Chievelly railway line at Colenso where he was shot in the head five times.

His body was placed on the railway line. A train drove over the body, severing Seev’s right arm.

Acting Judge Govender said the evidence was that the youngest accused turned 16 on the day of the murder but, because the court was unable to establish at exactly what time he was born, he was given the “benefit of the doubt” and deemed to have been 15 at the time the crimes were committed.

The judge said all the accused were first offenders and it appeared that the reason for the killing was a desire, by the accused, to avoid detection, he said, adding that there had also been a suggestion that Seev was killed in order to “initiate” the teenaged accused “into manhood”.

The judge said it is untenable that young people who commit crimes seek to avoid the maximum penalty by reason of their age alone. Applications for leave to appeal against their convictions and sentences by all four accused were refused by the court.

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