Three life sentences for killer

2012-11-26 00:00

THREE life sentences have been handed down in the Mtubatuba High Court to the man who hacked to death a grandmother and her two grandchildren.

Jabulani Sibusiso Sibiya (41) had been a neighbour of grandmother Gladys Mthembu (75) in Nhlabane Village in KwaMbonambi, near Richards Bay.

On Friday, he was found guilty on three murder charges, as well as one of attempted murder. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mthembu died along with Thabiso (6) and Ntando Mthiyane (2), after being hacked with a panga and an axe.

A third grandchild, Snenhlahla Mthiyane (then 4), was seriously injured, but survived after treatment at Ngwelezane Hospital. Sibiya was sentenced to an additional 10 years’ imprisonment for the attack on the little girl.

Sibiya was convicted largely on the evidence provided by a bloodied shirt, found discarded in a toilet shortly after the murders.

The family’s funeral was attended by police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who hails from KwaMbonambi.

At the time of the murders, in October 2010, there had been talk of a witchcraft connection.

However, the investigating officer, Jabulani Mkhwanazi of the Richards Bay Organised Crime unit, said that even though Mthembu had been a healer, there had in the end been no evidence that the murderer had been motivated by a fear of witchcraft.

“Even the accused could not explain his motive,” said Mkhwanazi.

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