Killer hijackers sentenced to life

2008-09-22 00:00

The two killers of a motorist who was shot dead, dragged from his parked vehicle and searched before his assailants drove off with his Opel Kadett car at kwaDabeka near Pinetown in November 2006 were yesterday each sentenced to life plus 15 years’ imprisonment for murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Judge Nic van der Reyden, sitting with an assessor, found in his judgment that Nkululeko Dlamini (23) and Mandla Msomi (20) of kwaDabeka had actively participated in the murder and hijacking of the victim, Sibongiseni Mkhize, in the early hours of Sunday, November 19.

Dlamini, who was also found guilty of the unlawful possession of a 7,65 mm Beretta pistol, was sentenced to an additional three years’ imprisonment.

A third co-accused, Nkosikhona Dlamini (25), was found guilty only of robbery with aggravating circumstances and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Judge van der Reyden said the court had been unable to find that he had formed a common purpose with his co-accused to commit the murder. “He didn’t take part in the killing. At that stage he was a spectator to the murder,” the judge said.

He added that the incident had caused “an uproar” in the community and said it was fortunate that an eyewitness had been able to cast light on what had happened, having observed what the accused were doing while they were unaware they were being watched.

At the time of the incident, Msomi was just over 18 years old, and the court had called for a probation officer’s report prior to sentencing. However, Judge van der Reyden said the finding in the report, which recommended that he be sent to a youth centre was impractical due to the fact that he is already 20 years old and is going to be in prison for a long time. He said it was the unanimous finding of the court that no compelling or substantial circumstances existed, which would justify the court imposing anything less than the minimum sentences prescribed by the legislature on the accused.

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