Two men get life for ‘savage murder’

2008-12-08 00:00

High court Judge Vivienne Niles-Duner yesterday sentenced two men to life plus 15 years’ imprisonment for the “savage and brutal” murder and attempted robbery of an 85-year-old man, Charles Cecil John, in Amanzimtoti.

John died of multiple stab wounds during an attack aimed at robbing him of his Citi Golf car on June 13, 2007.

Finding there were no compelling or substantial circumstances to warrant a lesser sentence than the prescribed minimum of life for the murder, Judge Niles-Duner said John was savagely “butchered” by his assailants, even though he could not offer any resistance. There was evidence he was suffering from liver cancer. The motive was greed.

“It continues to surprise me that human beings are capable of this degree of brutality,” the judge told the two killers — Nkosinathi Ngcobo (20) and Khulekani Maphumulo (20), both of Felekisi reserve.

Ngcobo’s girlfriend, Doreen Slindile Nzuza (20), who appeared in court nursing a baby born to her in prison, was found guilty of attempted robbery and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for her role.

Judge Niles-Duner said she was prepared to accept that Nzuza may have participated in the incident under the influence of her lover.

In addition, there was evidence that she screamed when the events unfolded, indicating that she was unaware of the plan and perturbed about what happened.

The court accepted that she was instrumental in luring John to the place where he was attacked and that she had an “affair” with him.

Ngcobo, Maphumulo and an accomplice, Ntuthuko Khwane, planned to rob John of his car.

On the night in question he was lured to meet Nzuza, and while parked at the side of the road, he was attacked by the three men and stabbed several times.

The car would not start and the assailants abandoned their attempts and fled.

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