Youth describes brutal attack

2009-12-10 00:00

A 22-YEAR-OLD man, Bongumusa Mbanjwa, has described to the high court in Pietermaritzburg how he and two other men attacked and almost killed Richmond farming couple Anthony (65) and Caroline Morris (63) while they lay asleep in their home late at night on November 28.

The motive for the attack was robbery, and afterwards the trio shared the spoils.

Mbanjwa will be sentenced today by Acting Judge Ben van Heerden, sitting with an assessor.

State advocate Candy Kander yesterday likened the conduct of Mbanjwa and his co-robbers to “animals descending on their prey” when they attacked the couple in their beds, and submitted they could have made them submit without injuring them.

Kander said Anthony Morris was stabbed at least 10 times in the chest, neck, back and lungs.

It was the fact that Mbanjwa was — by his own admission — strangling him at the time that deflected the knife from penetrating his neck at a vital point.

Caroline Morris, who was stabbed in her face and hand and suffered a fractured skull, has a clot on her brain and is still in intensive care. Her diagnosis remains unclear at this stage.

Kander said that during a telephone interview, Anthony Morris had said he is confident of recovering from his physical injuries, but spoke of the ongoing emotional and psychological trauma the attack has caused. He is due to undergo counselling.

She quoted the dairy farmer as saying that although he has returned to his farm in daylight hours, he still cannot bring himself to sleep there.

Kander said farm attacks are prevalent, particularly in Richmond, and farmers are vulnerable to attack due to the nature of their business.

Mbanjwa’s legal aid lawyer, Calvin Singh, submitted that there are prospects for him to be rehabilitated and said Mbanjwa asked him to pass on his apologies to the court and the family for his actions.

In his plea explanation, Mbanjwa said he was asked by an “older friend”, Skhumbuzo, at a bus rank if he would help him to rob a farmer in Richmond and share in the money. He agreed.

He accompanied Skhumbuzo and another man, Bhani, to the Morrises’ farm late that night. They were armed with knives.

“Skhumbuzo broke a window to the house with a knife … It made a noise and I ran to the fence of the property. Skhumbuzo followed me and told me not to be afraid. I calmed down and went back to the house.”

He said Skhumbuzo climbed through the broken window and then opened another window in the house to let the others in.

Anthony and Caroline Morris were asleep. “As soon as we entered the room Skhumbuzo stabbed Caroline Morris. I held Anthony Morris at the neck whilst Bhani tried to stab him.”

He said Bhani accidentally stabbed his (Mbanjwa’s) hand in the process, causing him to release his hold.

“I then held his (Anthony Morris’s) leg with my other hand while Bhani assaulted him,” he said.

He tied the couple’s hands and feet on Skhumbuzo’s instructions.

Skhumbuzo found a firearm and pointed it at the couple. They then demanded money.

Mbanjwa said they found firearms, ammunition and money in the house.

After the lights unexpectedly went off they fled the scene with the goods they had. They later shared the money equally.

“I received about R3 000,” he said.

Mbanjwa said that on his arrest by the organised crime unit on December 1 he immediately co-operated with the police. He said he is prepared to testify against the other perpetrators.

Two other men are currently in custody in connection with the case.

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