Life for plastic bag killers

2016-01-21 21:15
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Pretoria - Three Ekurhuleni men who murdered an elderly woman and her daughter by wrapping their heads in plastic bags were on Thursday sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria to life imprisonment.

Mpuhukileli Abraham Masuku, Sibusiso Mazibuko and Jabulani Mhlangeni of Etwatwa near Daveyton in Ekurhuleni were sentenced to two life terms each for the March 2013 murders of Masuku's aunt Ntombi Masuku, 67, and his niece Phumzile, 25.

Acting Judge Mokone Moloto sentenced them to a further 15 years imprisonment for robbing the two women of electronic goods, cellphones and Phumzile's car.

All sentences will run concurrently with one life sentence, meaning that the three could become eligible for parole after serving 25 years behind bars.

The two women died a gruesome death after they were tied up and their mouths taped shut before plastic bags were tied over their heads.

The court accepted the evidence of Masuku's girlfriend that all three men were at the house that night and that she had seen Mrs Masuku and her daughter being tied up, but was locked in a room when they were murdered.

The Judge rejected Masuku's claim that the others had forced him to take part in the robbery.

He also rejected Mazibuko's evidence that both women were still alive when he left the house and Mhlangeni's evidence that he had only arrived at the house when the goods were being removed.

He found that Masuku had planned the robbery while he was in prison with the other two where they were serving time for robbery and housebreakings.

He said the personal circumstances of the three men, who all had young children, paled in insignificance in light of the brutality of the murders.

All had failed to explain their "despicable" acts and it was clear that they had a common purpose to rob and murder their victims, Judge Moloto said.

Masuku apparently blamed his aunt for the death of his father, who died when he was six years old, but the Judge said he could have talked about his suspicions with the women. He had also betrayed the trust of the women who had given him a home.

He said the fact that the three had used a mixture of Nyaope and Mandrax before, during and after the crimes was no excuse, did not diminish their responsibility and had served as "dutch courage" for their actions, which they had approached like a game.

Judge Moloto stressed that society, where violence had become prevalent, would lose confidence in the justice system if courts took the severity of heinous crimes like these too lightly when imposing sentences.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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