Winterton killer confesses

2010-09-23 00:00

ONLY weeks after the organised crime unit took over a murder case that had gone unsolved for a year, one of the suspects pleaded guilty yesterday.

Muziwamandla Mazibuko, one of the killers of Drakensberg businessman Len Hodson (56) at Scrumpy Jacks farmstall near Winterton on September 13 last year, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder plus 10 years for attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Hodson’s two sons, Vaughan and Jonathan, welcomed the sentence and expressed the family’s appreciation to Warrant Officer Willem de Wet and his team of the Pietermaritzburg organised crime unit who cracked the case.

Vaughan Hodson told The Witness the family made approaches to senior police officials to intervene when the local police detectives were unable to deliver a result.

“Within 10 days of the organised crime unit taking over the docket, arrests were made and the first accused has confessed and been sentenced. Now at least we can get justice,” he said.

Sentencing Mazibuko (28), Judge Leona Theron said mitigating factors — including the fact that he pleaded guilty — were far outweighed by the aggravating factors in the case.

She said defence attorney Kelvin Singh and the state advocate, Suhanna Singh, were in agreement that these types of offences are both serious and prevalent.

Theron said Hodson was a businessman and a respected member of his community. He was the father of three children — two sons and a daughter, Bronwyn — and Mazibuko’s actions have destroyed a family.

“No sentence will bring the deceased back to life, but at least the family will go away knowing that justice was served today,” the judge said.

She said the community in general demands that perpetrators of crimes like this “get their just deserts”.

Theron said it was aggravating that the offences were clearly pre-planned, and motivated by greed. Hodson was killed trying to protect himself and his property, she said.

Describing what had happened Mazibuko said he and his relatives, Mandlenkosi and Mxolisi Mazibuko, had gone to Scrumpy Jacks on September 13 last year while there were no customers present.

When Hodson approached them, he pointed a firearm at him and demanded money.

“He pointed us in the direction of the till, whereafter Mxolisi and Mandlenkosi went to take money from the till.

“However before they could reach the till the deceased pressed the panic button and the alarm went off. It made a loud noise.

“Immediately on hearing the alarm I fired a single gunshot in the direction of the deceased and we ran out of the shop.”

 

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