Accused man admits to Underburg farm murder

2014-08-14 00:00

THE man accused of murdering Underburg farm-sitter Ian Fellowes (74), yesterday admitted that he had murdered and robbed him.

The high court will today sentence 21-year-old Mthokozisi Mtolo after he had a change of heart and admitted to the crime which took place last November.

On Monday, Mtolo pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, even though he admitted that he had been found in unlawful possession of the murder weapon, a shotgun stolen from the farm, and ammunition.

He said he had taken the guns and ammunition from an abandoned vehicle which had crashed into a signboard in Bulwer on the night in question.

However after his brother, Siyabonga Mtolo, gave evidence for the prosecution and testified that Mtolo had confessed all the details of the murder and robbery to him, Mtolo said he wanted to come clean.

In a statement read by his attorney, Xolani Sindane, Mtolo detailed how he’d gone to Ringstead farm at Underberg — where Fellowes was housesitting — on the night of November 23, 2013.

He said had noticed the door to the house was open and he went inside to find no one there.

“I entered and I waited for the deceased [Fellowes],” said Mtolo.

He said Fellowes arrived in an Isuzu bakkie.

When Fellowes entered the farmhouse he had pointed a gun at him and demanded money. “He produced a R100 note and told me that was the only amount he had,” he said.

“I instructed him to lie on his stomach and he complied. I tied him with a piece of cloth.”

Mtolo said as he was walking away he saw that Fellowes had untied himself and was “coming to grab” him.

“I fired one shot on his upper body. I then got a knife and stabbed him on his face.”

He said he took various items from the house, including a shotgun, and put them into the Isuzu bakkie.

He then drove to the house he was staying in at Underberg to fetch clothing, before travelling to Pietermaritzburg.

In the Bulwer area he’d lost control of the bakkie, which collided with a signboard.

Sindane asked Acting Judge Sibusiso Mngomezulu and an assessor, when passing sentence, to take into account Mtolo’s age, the fact that he was a first offender, and that he showed some remorse by admitting his deeds.

State advocate Sipho Magwaza however urged the court to sentence Mtolo to life imprisonment.

He said attacks on farmers, particularly in this province, were rife.

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