Killers ‘needed a vehicle'

2007-11-15 00:00

THE killers of Elaine Anderson and Patricia Kippen, who were shot dead in Woodlands on October 14, told the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday they tried to hijack the women because they couldn’t get a taxi.

Sentencing Sibusiso Derrick Duma (24) and Simphiwe Christopher Khesi (33) to two life sentences plus lengthy jail terms each yesterday, the judge said crimes like these are giving the country a bad name. KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Vuka Tshabalala described the murders of Kippen and Anderson as “callous and cruel” and said they were senseless as the killers hardly benefited.

“These people died for nothing,” he said. “The whole community of Pietermaritzburg is shocked by what happened to the deceased in this case. People in these suburbs expect to live peacefully and with freedom to move around without fear of prowlers coming from other areas,” the judge said.

Duma and Khesi pleaded guilty and their legal aid lawyer, Divesh Mootheram, submitted that their co-operation was a sign of remorse.

But state advocate Candy Kander urged the court to send a message to deter other criminals, describing the murders as “cold-blooded”. She said the victims were mothers and wives who “stood no chance”.

Duma, a taxi driver/owner, admitted he fired the fatal shots.

As a first offender, Duma was given two life terms plus an effective 20 years in prison. Khesi — who was sentenced in 1993 to 17 years for robbery and only released on parole last year — received two life terms plus an effective 40 years.

In statements read in court, the accused said they had been drinking at a tavern on the night of October 14, and on leaving realised that as it was Sunday, there were no taxis. They decided to steal a vehicle to return home.

“At the intersection of Camphor and Claridge Road, we noticed a maroon Toyota RunX, which was stationary at a stop street. Khesi pointed out this motor vehicle to me and I then fired a single shot at it. The motor vehicle accelerated across Claridge Road and crashed into a pillar at Ngcobo’s Tavern.”

The accused said the arrival of people from the tavern interfered with their plans to take the car.

They said Khesi opened the driver’s door. “I noticed the driver, who was female, had been shot and was unconscious and her shirt/top was covered with blood. … We then left the scene in search of another vehicle,” Duma stated.

A short while later they saw Anderson’s VW Polo parked at the roadside and decided to rob the driver. “ … I fired two shots at the driver of the vehicle. The motor vehicle veered out of control and crashed,” said Duma.

He said they tried to get into the car, but it was locked. “I noticed that the driver … appeared to be dead. Another vehicle approached, causing us to flee. We then decided to proceed home on foot,” he said.

The judge said there was a “ring of untruth” to the story. He wondered why Duma did not use the taxi he owned.

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