Murder puzzle: Judge throws book at killers

2012-08-08 00:00

THREE men who kicked down a bedroom door, shot dead a grandfather and wounded his three-year-old grandson were jailed for life by acting judge Kobus Booyens in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

The convicted men, Mlangeleni Ngubo (21), Mthofi Ngubo (25) and Mkhawuleni Mchunu (28), who all worked in Johannesburg, were convicted of the murder in September 2010 of Thabani Nhlangothi. They were also found guilty of the attempted murders of Thabiso Nhlangothi, who was shot in the buttock, and of his sister and grandmother, whom they missed.

Defence counsel Ishi Khan told the court that the assailants would not give a reason for the attack.

Booyens said it was plain that they had reconnoitred the area and planned the attack. On the night of the raid they took a taxi to the victims’ home and told the taxi driver that they would kill Nhlangothi. They fired shots through the door and kicked it in.

For the attempted murders of the grandmother and the two children, Booyens imposed 10-year terms, the three offences being taken as one.

The Ngubos were each sentenced to 15 years for possession of firearms, whose serial numbers had been filed off.

Booyens said that even if he was not bound to impose life for the murder he would have imposed it if he had discretion.

He said that although the three were first offenders and might be rehabilitated, the aggravating factors far outweighed any mitigation and there was no substantial and compelling reason for departing from the prescribed life sentence for planned murder.

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