5 guilty of Lindley farm murder
Bloemfontein - Two farm workers and three of their friends from Lindley were on Wednesday found guilty of murdering Free State farmer Attie Potgieter during a robbery on his farm Tweefontein in December 2010.
The Free State High Court also found one worker, Paulus Khumalo, 23, and three of the men guilty of murdering Potgieter's wife Wilna.
The three Lindley men - Tshekolo Letlala, 19, Telleko Seekoei, 20, and Diphapang Motaung, 18 - were also found guilty of murdering the couple's 2-year-old daughter Wilmien.
Judge George Wright said all five were guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Farm worker Klaas Mofokeng, 34, was the only accused not linked to the murders of the family, but was found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances for sharing the loot afterwards.
Motaung was a minor at the time of the incident.
Wright found Motaung's version of the events “ridiculous”.
He claimed Letlala and Seekoei had forced him to take part in the murders. His testimony that he ran away at some stage and came back was also “absurd”.
The court found Letlala and Seekoei's testimony was “pathetic”. They testified they knew nothing of the event, although they were on the farm at the time.
Wright said the amount of objective evidence that placed the two men at the scene of the crimes could not be contested.
The court found it was likely Seekoei was directly involved in the shooting of Wilna Potgieter and her daughter.
Letlala, Seekoei and Motaung were the only accused found guilty of possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.
Wright held that Khumalo planned the robbery and the murder of Attie Potgieter. He involved the others in the conspiracy to rob and murder.
At some stage he foresaw that the woman could be killed as well, the court found.
Wright congratulated the police for the “very thorough” investigation and the speed at which it was concluded. Everything had been done to get the accused in the “gruesome” murder to trial within six months.
The matter was postponed to July 25 to consider reports which Motaung's defence would like to submit before sentencing.
Attie Potgieter's mother Ina, said after the judgment they were thankful the matter had reached finality. She said the family had been through a bad time.