Lower sentence for Cape Town cop killing

2013-04-12 20:02

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Cape Town - The State conceded to a lower sentence for a man who admitted to killing a Cape Town policeman, in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

Barnabas Sentiwe had entered into a plea and sentencing agreement on Thursday, in which he agreed to a 20-year jail term for the death of Constable Monwabisi Mnyombolo.

However, Judge Robert Henney had ordered both legal teams to research the sentencing guidelines for the killing of police officers and report back to court, to ensure the sentence handed down was fair.

He said that certain provisions of the Criminal Procedures Act were not relevant, as Mnyombolo was not killed in the line of duty.

"Whether a private [matter] or on-duty, the murder had nothing to do with being a policeman... He was just a mere neighbour of the accused," Henney said.

The State conceded that 15 years was a suitable sentence.

Henney postponed the matter until Monday, for the plea agreement to be revised and signed.

According to the Cape Argus, Sentiwe admitted he went to the policeman's house on 24 October 2009, and accused him of having an affair with his wife, Phumza Veli, a co-accused in the case.

An argument ensued and Sentiwe stabbed Mnyombolo.

He then carried the body home and buried it in the backyard of his Mfuleni home.

Bones discovered

In April the following year, he sold the house.

In May 2011, the owners of the house saw a piece of cloth sticking out of the sand, pulled it and discovered a pair of pants with bones.

Forensic tests were done and the bones were identified as belonging to Mnyombolo.

Veli has been accused as an accessory after the fact, but was not asked to plead.

The court heard on Friday that charges against her may be withdrawn.

Her legal team asked for her to be released on warning until Monday, so that she could stay with relatives in the province.

The relatives were not present to assist the court in the request and Henney ruled both would remain in custody.

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