Midlands murder: sentence today

2008-04-22 00:00

Judge Leona Theron is expected to pass sentence today on Nhlanhla Sbangani Nkunzi Dlamini (22), who yesterday pleaded guilty to the murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances of Drummond resident Mark Vroom (51) on December 10 last year.

The court heard that two other alleged assailants are in custody awaiting trial in connection with the night-time attack on Vroom and his brother Digby on their smallholding in Lilac Road, and that Dlamini is prepared to give evidence for the state at their trial.

A fourth suspect is still at large.

Dlamini pleaded guilty to four charges — murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm and live rounds of ammunition.

Dlamini said he was with Sisho Msibi, Dala Zuma and a man he knows only as Zamokwakhe, when Msibi said he wanted them to commit a robbery at Vroom’s residence. “We agreed to assist him,” he said.

He said the door to the house was open, but the security gate was closed. There was a “grid” at the bottom of the gate, through which Vroom’s pets were able to enter and leave the house.

He said Msibi entered through the grid, while he and two companions kept guard outside. Msibi took cash and a cellphone from the dining room table, which he handed to Zamokwakhe. He then returned to search for more items.

“At that moment, a dog entered the dining room and started barking at Msibi. The deceased and Vroom entered the dining room. Msibi attempted to flee via the grid. The deceased [Mark Vroom] grabbed hold of him and stood on top of him while [Digby] Vroom held Msibi by his legs.”

They went to the door to try and help Msibi. He drew his firearm, while his companions produced knives, which “did not have the desired effect”. Dlamini said he fired a shot at Mark Vroom to “scare him off”. Msibi was immediately released and they all fled.

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