Robber guilty of shop murder

2008-02-20 00:00

CATO Ridge armed robber John Ndawonde (35) did not shoot well-known Hayfields bottlestore owner De Wet Joubert, but was yesterday convicted of Joubert’s murder, the murder of a fellow robber and the aggravated robbery of Joubert and his wife Anna.

Ndawonde pleaded guilty to the robbery, but not guilty to the murders of Joubert and fellow robber Sandile Jili in April 2004.

Ndawonde pleaded that although he and his fellow gang members went to the store with loaded firearms and made common purpose to rob the store, he never intended that either Joubert or Jili should be killed.

He said: “Joubert and Sandile sustained fatal injuries as they shot each other. I never intended that they should be injured.

“When Sandile shot Joubert he was acting on his own volition. I never entered into a common purpose with the others to shoot them.”

Suppressing tears, widow Anna Joubert told the court that when the four gangsters entered their store she was made at gunpoint to unlock the safe.

She heard six to eight gunshots. She saw her husband bleeding and he said to her: “Annatjie, ek is geskiet … bel die polisie (Annatjie, I’ve been shot … call the police)”. He then collapsed.

Convicting Ndawonde of the two murders and the robbery, Judge Ron McLaren said Ndawonde realised that he or co-perpetrators or a victim could be killed. Ndawonde told the court that he knew robbery victims sometimes resisted armed robbers. “He knew that people often are shot during robberies,” McLaren said.

The state did not allege that the victim would be killed first and then the robbery would take place.

Ndawonde had a 9 mm pistol loaded with one cartridge and could not give an acceptable explanation if the intention was only to induce fear in the victim.

The four robbers, three with loaded firearms, who entered the store intended to overcome soft targets (Joubert was 64 years old).

The only inference was that Ndawonde foresaw there could be a shoot-out. “Despite his feeble protestations, Ndawonde had the foresight and knowledge that one or more people could be killed. This was a brazen armed robbery carried out in broad daylight in a substantial mall.

“Robberies and death often go hand in hand. Ndawonde carried on with the armed robbery despite that knowledge, and is found guilty of both murders and the robbery.”

Ndawonde will be sentenced today.

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