Cop killer gets two life terms

2012-03-15 00:00

A 68-YEAR-OLD man who shot dead the station commander of Creighton police station, killed another officer and wounded a third in May 2011 was handed two life sentences plus seven years’ imprisonment yesterday.

The policemen were busy confiscating liquor at an unlicensed bottle store when the accused, Helman Khathi, shot them on May 19, 2011.

Khathi pleaded guilty to the murders of Captain Sydney Bongani Hlengwa, the station commander at Creighton, and members of his team, Constable Zamikhaya Patrick Nhlangulela and Sergeant Aaron Siyabonga Gcaleka.

In a written statement Khathi said he returned to the Valley Bottle Store on the evening in question to find two police vans outside.

In the store he saw policemen removing liquor and loading it into the vans.

“I asked the police what was happening, why they are removing the liquor.

“No answer was given. I then noticed Capt Hlengwa … and I approached him and asked him why he was removing liquor from the bottle store; he also kept quiet,” he said.

Khathi said he asked for a search warrant and instructed Nhlangulela to stop removing liquor from the fridge.

“Constable Nhlangulela then pushed me hard.

“I fell on my back. I got angry and I retaliated by shooting him once.

“Thereafter shots were fired by the police and I also returned fire and as a result Aaron Siyabonga Gcaleka was shot by myself.”

He said he crawled behind the counter and ran away through a back door.

He admitted having shot Hlengwa in the head and chest and Nhlangulela in the head, killing them both, and wounding Gcaleka in the stomach.

Family members and supporters of the victims in the case waved their hands in a show of delight when life sentences were handed down to Khathi.

The court heard that Khathi, a businessman and widower, was raising four children alone. He was also a first offender.

The court had heard evidence that in 13 policemen were killed in KwaZulu Natal in 2010 and 19 last year.

In January this year another policeman was slain in KZN.

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