Family relieved as killers get life terms

2009-06-17 00:00

THE family of a retired Swartberg couple who were brutally tortured and beaten to death on their farm in July 2007 have expressed relief that sentences of life plus 20 years’ imprisonment were imposed on the killers

High court Judge Gregory Kruger in Durban sentenced Simon Duma (22) and a relative, Bonginkosi Duma (28), to two terms of life impri­sonment for each of the two murders, and to 20 years’ imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Kruger ordered that a copy of his judgment be attached to their prison records for reference if the killers are considered for parole — which, he ordered, may not be considered before they have served 25 years.

Raymond Fitch (78), and his wife, Yvonne (79), were beaten to death on Two Springs farm on July 20, 2007, but before they died their attackers set fire to plastic grocery packets and dripped the molten plastic on their bodies to force them to produce keys to a safe.

State advocate Ross Stuart SC said evidence revealed the couple suffered broken ribs and other multiple injuries. At least two of the weapons used were a heavy frying pan and a tennis racket.

The court accepted a confession by Simon Duma in connection with the attack and police recovered a stolen firearm from him.

Bonginkosi Duma was linked to the crimes via his DNA found on a cigarette butt at the murder scene, as well as his possession of a pair of pants stained with Raymond Fitch’s blood.

The couple’s daughter, Leslie Duffy of Pietermaritzburg, said she is still battling to come to terms with the way her parents suffered.

“I’m glad the killers are behind bars, but I still can’t get my mind around the fact that human beings can do such things to other human beings,” she said.

Her sister-in-law, Murrell Fitch, who with her husband, Jeff, found the couple, said they hope police will soon arrest a third suspect.

“We are pleased with the outcome of the court case and we want to thank the police team for their dedication and our community for their support.”

She said her parents-in-law were frail and would have been unable to fight their attackers.

The killers gained entry by breaking a large window.

The phone lines, panic buttons and farm radio were cut off.

Duffy said that ironically her parents never kept anything of value at home. The only items taken were a handgun, which they kept at their bedside for protection, about R700, a “very old” computer and an older Mercedes-Benz car, which was later found abandoned.

Simon Duma grew up on the Fitches’ farm, where both his parents worked, but he was asked to leave as he was a troublemaker.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.