Man gets 25 years for murder at funeral

2013-04-03 00:00

DEPUTY KZN Judge President Achmat Jappie yesterday imposed an effective 25-year jail sentence on a man who admitted that he shot his aunt dead and wounded a bystander at his uncle’s funeral in Newcastle recently.

Jappie found there were compelling circumstances in the case to justify imposing less than the minimum prescribed sentence of life imprisonment on the killer, Mlungisi Mdluli (38).

These included the fact that Mdluli was a first offender, had pleaded guilty and shown remorse for his crimes and that he acted out of fear for his own life.

The judge also said the fact that Mdluli has a diploma in information technology was an indication that he was capable of being rehabilitated.

However, the judge said the crimes were extremely prevalent and serious.

“Although motivated by fear that the deceased may well have planned to kill you, what you did amounted to a cowardly act, perpetrated on a defenceless woman who had her back to you,” he told Mdluli.

Mdluli described in a statement read to court by his legal aid attorney, Ishi Khan last week, how he opened fire on his aunt through marriage, Buyi Joyce Radebe, killing her and wounding another funeral goer, Nqobile Radebe in his back.

The shooting took place during the funeral of his late uncle, Duke Radebe, who was being buried at Grootgeluk farm at Osizweni.

Mdluli said there had been a family dispute over where his uncle (who died in Johannesburg) should be buried and during a row his aunt had threatened to hire a hitman to kill him and his family.

At the funeral, he saw her talking to two armed men whom he did not know and remembering her threat, he decided to kill her before she killed him.

He drew his licensed gun, approached her from behind and fired several shots at her while she was standing with Nqobile Radebe.

He said he had tried to commit suicide by turning his gun on himself, but was disarmed and subsequently assaulted by some of the funeral goers.

Judge Jappie took into account that the murder and attempted murder were the result of a “single incident”.

He sentenced Mdluli to 20 years for murder and 10 years for attempted murder but ordered that five years of the sentences run concurrently.

He also ordered that Mdluli serve 15 years in prison before he can be considered for parole.

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