Murdered cop’s family outraged by ‘light’ sentence

2016-04-26 12:16
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Pietermaritzburg - Relatives of murdered Pietermaritzburg policeman Bongani Lembethe expressed outrage yesterday at the sentence imposed on his killer and former lover Tembelihle Ngcobo (32).

Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati sentenced Ngcobo to five years’ imprisonment in terms of legislation which entitles her to be released under correctional supervision af-ter serving one-sixth (about 10 months) of the prison term.

Lembethe’s sister Thuli and his former fiancee Sindi Khanyile (a nurse) were in tears after the sentencing.

Thuli said her family does not believe “a word” Ngcobo said regarding the shooting, and rejected the court’s findings that she had diminished criminal responsibility when she shot Lembethe on March 3, 2014 outside Pineview Mews in Prestbury.

She added that the family did not accept that the child Ngcobo gave birth to after shooting Lembethe — a son — was his child. She said no paternity test was done. “We are not interested in that. We want nothing to do with her.”

She added that Ngcobo fired “13 bullets” into her brother.

“It isn’t fair,” she said of the sentence.

Khanyile, who has a child by Lembethe and was accepted as his fiancée, said their daughter was around 21 months old when he died.

“Every day she would ask me where her father is and I didn’t know what to answer,” she said, tears running down her cheeks. “This isn’t right,” she added.

She believes jealousy was at the root of the murder.

Judge Poyo-Dlwati said she had taken into account the best interests of Ngcobo’s two-year-old son, that she was remorseful, had pleaded guilty, had a history of mental illness, and had acted with diminished criminal responsibility. She was a first offender and had good prospects for rehabilitation.

Two clinical psychologists found Lembethe’s shooting was triggered by his rejection of Ngcobo and the subsequent emotional upheaval this caused her. They found her powers of restraint and self-control were reduced compared to a normal person due to her personality.

The court heard that Lembethe had insisted that Ngcobo keep their affair a secret. Following Ngcobo’s pregnancy, Lembethe had rejected her, causing her to suffer from depression.

Willows said in his report that Ngcobo — and anyone with a similar personality — should never be entrusted with a firearm.

He said it was “extremely worrying” that Ngcobo was recruited and provided with a firearm by the SAPS without an interview to determine her motivation or psychological stability, adding that “the mechanisms by which this decision was made should be scrutinised in the interests of society”.

Willows said his psychological evaluation of Ngcobo, and the opinions of other mental health practitioners, had highlighted her “psychological frailties”, which confirmed that she was unsuited to be armed.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  court

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