Man jailed for holiday attack

2008-08-25 00:00

High court Judge Chris Nicholson yesterday sentenced Fanana Jerome Nhlumayo (20), of Port Edward, to an effective 25 years in jail for offences including the attempted murders of American lawyer David Bovino and his then South African fiancée, Jessica Webster, at a holiday home in Leisure Bay on August 15, 2006.

Judge Nicholson imposed a total of 57 years’ jail on Nhlumayo for his crimes, but said that in order to express the court’s commitment to mercy, he would order some of the sentences to run concurrently.

Nhlumayo was also convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances of Webster and Bovino, unlawful possession of a semi-automatic Browning pistol linked to the crime scene, and illegal possession of a .38 special Rossi revolver and a 12-gauge Damas shotgun and a large quantity of ammunition.

Refusing Nhlumayo leave to appeal, Judge Nicholson commented that although he was a young man (18 years old) at the time, his “catalogue” of offences was depressing and offensive.

The trial of Nhlumayo and two others — Sbonele Mpisane and Sifiso Nhlumayo — started in Ramsgate and was later transferred to Pietermaritzburg, where both Mpisane and Sifiso Nhlumayo were acquitted of all charges. The court found that there was a possibility of “mistaken identity” in the case of Sifiso Nhlumayo, while there was insufficient evidence against Mpisane.

Webster and Bovino gave the court graphic accounts of their ordeal. Webster was told after the incident that a bullet in her spine would make her a paraplegic for life. But state advocate Dalene Barnard said yesterday that her “strong willpower” has resulted in her being able to walk again, albeit on crutches and with difficulty. She also uses a wheelchair.

Webster said she was threatened with rape while lying paralysed on the ground after being shot. She was shot without warning while smoking on the patio.

Bovino, although physically recovered from the attack, testified about the emotional trauma he continues to suffer.

Barnard said Bovino suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has recurring nightmares.

She said South Africans are constantly surrounded by violence, death and misery and are more “resilient” against the effects of crime than overseas visitors.

She said attacks like this one — which received worldwide media coverage — are a blow for the tourism industry and economy of the country.

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