Killers show no remorse

2014-11-15 00:00

TWO men found guilty of brutally murdering Underberg man Dan Knight (56) and cruelly attacking his life partner, Beth Bucher, last October showed no emotion when Judge Jerome Mnguni pronounced the verdict yesterday.

For Knight’s and Bucher’s family and friends, the conviction brings cold comfort.

“This doesn’t change anything, but it brings some peace knowing that they [the killers] will not be free,” said Bucher’s daughter, Lauren Raw.

Bucher has not attended the trial since giving evidence, as she is too traumatised. She testified she can only fall asleep after taking sleeping pills, and takes anti-depressant medication.

Judge Mnguni and assessor Fred de Beer found the prosecution proved that Tsepiso Ramonyane and Bonginkosi Nyawose were among a group who burst into the house Knight and Bucher shared on Outlook farm on the night of October 17, 2013.

A third man, Happy Gcina, was acquitted last week after state advocate Siyabonga Buthelezi conceded that there was insufficient evidence implicating him.

Knight was bludgeoned over the head repeatedly with a hammer by the balaclava-clad gang armed with weapons including a monkey wrench and a large bread knife.

Whilst being struck, his hands and his feet were bound with curtain ties. The assailants demanded money, which Knight did not have.

Bucher described how a rope was put around her neck, and her hands and feet bound with cable ties. A man sat on her while she could only helplessly watch the merciless assault on Knight. Later, as the attackers carried her past his motionless, bloody body, she saw his brain matter splattered on the carpet.

During her ordeal, Bucher was taken to the bathroom where one attacker — wearing gloves similar to those worn by Knight’s contract workers — shoved first his fist and then the barrel of his firearm down her throat.

Her head was eventually wrapped in bandages and a surgical glove pulled over her nose and mouth so that she could not breathe. She was tied to the pedestal of the basin.

Bucher said she managed to suck the glove into her mouth and bite a hole in it so that she could breathe. She lay there for a long time while the intruders ransacked the house, and heard them kicking Knight. The attackers eventually drove away in two farm vehicles.

The evidence the court relied on to convict Nyawose and Ramonyane included a confession Nyawose made to police, as well as testimony by Ramonyane’s cousin, Thabo Dlamini, to whom Ramonyane had confessed.

The case was postponed to Monday for sentencing.

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