Estcourt murder: teenage killer sentenced to 15 years’ jail

2010-11-15 00:00

A MAN who participated in killing an elderly Estcourt woman, Vumephi Mpila, by striking her with a bush knife and robbing her in her home on October 8, was sentenced to an effective 15 years’ imprisonment on Friday.

Judge Yvonne Gcaba took into account the fact that the accused, Zwelithini Mazibuko, turned 19 years old the day he pleaded guilty last week.

She said his age is an indication he is capable of being rehabilitated. Other mitigating factors were that he co-operated fully with police after his arrest, that he was prepared to help secure a conviction against his co-accused and had shown remorse for what he had done.

In a statement to the court, Mazibuko said he had been approached a few days before the murder by a friend, Thulani (Gogotha) Mazibuko, who asked him to help kill Mpila. Gogotha said she had “bewitched” and killed his brother and his brother’s children.

Gogotha told him Mpila had R10 000 they could obtain when they went to kill her. However, when they demanded the money she handed over only R440 and claimed it was all she had.

While Gogotha left the room with a young female occupant of the house, Mazibuko said he took two cellphones, cellphone chargers and two watches.

When Gogotha returned he placed his gun against Mpila’s head and fired a shot but the gun jammed. Mazibuko said he was then told to kill the victim with his bush knife and he struck her several times over the head.

The court sentenced Mazibuko to 10 years’ imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances and 15 years’ imprisonment for the murder, but ordered the sentences to run concurrently.

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