Attackers ‘wanted to kill’

2011-09-30 00:00

SERIOUS injuries inflicted on Richmond farming couple Anthony and Caroline Morris showed that their attackers intended to kill them, Judge Esther Steyn said yesterday when convicting two men of housebreaking with intent to commit aggravated robbery and attempted murder.

While the couple were asleep in November 2009, Bhani Dlamini and Skhumbuzo Sithole, both 27 and both of the Richmond area, broke a window and entered their bedroom and attacked them. They made off with cellphones, firearms, ammunition and other items. They tried to drive away in the Morris’s car, but could not open the gate.

State counsel Dheelan Naidoo said they made was a savage, disabling, attack and that it was a miracle the couple survived. Both were treated by specialist surgeons; Caroline Morris was in a coma in ICU where she was treated by a neuro-surgeon.

A surgeon told the court that Anthony Morris was lucky that he had not lost more blood from a punctured lung.

Sithole committed the crimes while he was on parole. He had previous convictions for housebreaking with intent to steal and theft and aggravated assault. Dlamini has a previous conviction for possession of a dangerous weapon.

Steyn said Wate Mbanjwa, who previously pleaded guilty to the attack and was jailed for a total 32 years’ jail for the offences, had given good evidence for the state. Anthony Morris also gave good evidence.

Mbanjwa’s testimony was corroborated by a taxi driver whom the accused approached to transport their booty.

Steyn said it had been proved that they had been in unlawful possession of firearms.

She asked if there was evidence of increasing numbers of attacks on farming couples and Naidoo said he would research the matter. He will continue his argument on sentence today.

Both counsel for Dlamini and Sithole said that they could not argue that there were substantial and compelling circumstances justifying deviation from a prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years for the robbery.

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