Pakistani shopkeeper's killers jailed

2014-12-17 20:52
Jail bars. (File photo, AP)

Jail bars. (File photo, AP)

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Mbombela - Two Mpumalanga men convicted of murdering a Pakistani shopkeeper were sentenced to 25 years behind bars by the Nelspruit circuit of the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday.

Xolani Chauke, 25, and Njabulo Mathonsi, 27, of Naas near the Mozambican and Swazi border, were arrested following the murder of Abdul Rehman Ibrahim Patel in Mbombela on 23 February 2010.

They had pleaded not guilty to murder as well as robbery with aggravating circumstances and possession of an unlicensed 9mm pistol and ammunition, a Sapa correspondent reported.

A third accused, Bongani Mnisi, 24, who is suspected of pulling the trigger, has skipped bail and a warrant is out for his arrest.

When passing judgment and sentencing on Wednesday, Judge Sipho Sithole said the evidence given from shop cleaner Nordi Masuku made it clear that there were three attackers.

"When the witness tried running out the door, two suspects dragged him by his leg and pulled him back inside. Patel was behind the counter.

"The three men robbed him of cigarettes and money and ran away, two in one direction and one in a different one," he said.

Judge Sithole said the suspect with the firearm was chased by the community and he headed into a river.

"He was stoned by the community, got injured in his face and handed the firearm to a policeman. The other two suspects were lucky to escape," he said.

The judge said the arrested suspect named his two accomplices which led to their arrest.

He dismissed the two men's claims that they were not at the scene and were beaten into making confessions.

"You were part of the group and acted on a common purpose. You only wanted mahala cigarettes and money," he said.

Sithole sentenced them to 25 years for murder and 10 years each for robbery. The sentences would run concurrently.

They would also never be allowed to own firearms.

"You are wished a Merry Christmas," Sithole said.

He gave them leave to appeal their sentences. The appeal would be heard on 11 February in Pretoria.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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