Three sentenced to life

2016-04-27 06:00

ON 11 May, 2012 at 5.30pm, a robbery took place at Umdoni Grove, St Winifreds, Amanzimtoti.

Five armed men entered the premises where Stephen Coetzee and his father were in their garage.

“The suspects took one vehicle and in the attempt to flee, crashed into the side of the driveway where they abandoned the vehicle.
“While attempting to flee with another vehicle, the victim - 22-year-old Stephen - was shot by one of the suspects and died on arrival at Kingsway Hospital. The suspects fled the scene with the vehicle and a cellphone and a case of murder and robbery was opened for investigation,” said Captain Charlene van der Spuy.

“Through tenuous investigation and dedication, the investigating officer. Detective Warrant Officer François Esterhuizen. was able to trace the cellphone which led to the whereabouts of the suspects. Before an arrest could be affected however, the suspects fled KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg,” Van der Spuy added.

The gang committed several armed robberies while in Johannesburg and were arrested during a shoot-out with police.

“One of the suspects was fatally wounded. The other four suspects were arrested and appeared in the Johannesburg Regional Court. The suspects and firearms were positively linked to the Amanzimtoti murder case. Another suspect died in a Johannesburg correctional facility while awaiting trial. The remaining three were brought to Durban to stand trial on the Amanzimtoti murder and robbery case,” Van der Spuy said.

On 14 April all three accused, Philani Mxolisi Lwane (25), Nkululeko Mkhize (23) and Nhlanipho Andile Sikhonde (25), were convicted in the Durban High Court for murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. On 15 April the accused was each sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and 15 years for robbery.

“The accused appealed the sentence given, but their appeal was denied. The management of Amanzimtoti SAPS applaud Warrant Officer François Esterhuizen for all the time, effort and dedication he put in, having to travel numerous times to Johannesburg and back to secure this successful conviction,” Van der Spuy stated.
- Supplied.

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