‘Crimes more violent’

2015-05-29 07:59


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Pietermaritzburg - Levels of violence accompanying the commission of crimes is escalating, a regional court magistrate said on Thursday.

Magistrate Chris van Vuuren made the comment when sentencing three men — Simphiwe Gasa (27), Nkosinathi Msomi (27) and Thandanani Gasa (35) — to jail terms of 31 and 25 years’ imprisonment.

The trio were found guilty of participating in what Van Vuuren described as “horrendous and disgusting” break-ins at a shop, as well as a house in the Taylor’s Halt area on July 20, 2012.

Simphiwe Gasa was found to have stripped a woman of her nightgown while she was bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound and to have sexually molested her during the attack on her and her boyfriend.

The couple, who had planned a peaceful night at home together, were savagely beaten, verbally abused and taunted throughout their robbery ordeal, said Van Vuuren.

He said the woman at first could only watch and plead for her boyfriend’s life as he was brutally beaten.

Then after being shot and injured and with her nightgown covered in blood, she was forced outside where she was “manhandled” and molested by Simphiwe Gasa.

Van Vuuren said this behaviour was “disgusting” and the actions of someone who should not be allowed to remain in the community.

The woman’s name, as well as her boyfriend’s, have been withheld to protect her identity due to the nature of the assault on her.

The same night the attackers entered a shop with guns and knives, ordered its patrons to lie on the ground and then used a hammer to force their way into an adjoining room, before ransacking it. Goods, which according to the charge sheet included a juke box and a pool and snooker table, were damaged by the assailants.

The owner of the shop, Sipho Ngcobo, was also severely beaten during the incident.

Van Vuuren said it has become more prevalent for people breaking into houses and businesses these days to not just steal, but also brutally beat and verbally abuse the occupants.

Van Vuuren said he took into account the personal circumstances of the three accused, who all had “unfortunate upbringings”, but said these paled compared with the brutality of their actions.

He said Thandanani Gasa is already serving a life sentence for another crime and the effective 25-year jail term he imposed on him would automatically run concurrently with that.

However, he urged any parole board hearing an application to release him on parole to consider the facts in the present case.

He said all three men are a menace to society.

Simphiwe Gasa (who was also convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition in addition to the housebreaking, robbery and malicious injury to property charges) was sentenced to an effective 31 years in prison, and his co-accused were each jailed effectively for 25 years.

Van Vuuren ordered that they must each serve two-thirds of their jail terms before being considered for release on parole

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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