Man guilty of murder after attack on farm

2012-09-21 21:16

Pretoria - A member of a group that attacked a couple on their farm near Bronkhortspruit three years ago was found guilty of murder on Friday.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria also convicted George Khoza, 27, of Tembisa of attempted murder.

He attacked Lars Schonken and his wife Isabel in September 2009. Isabel was shot dead and Schonken was wounded.

He spent six days in intensive care and metal plates had to be inserted in his head and arm to repair injuries he suffered.

Schonken testified that he had gone to lie down while his wife was watching television that night, but woke up when he saw three men standing in his room.

He tackled the one nearest to him to protect his wife when he saw her coming into the room, but passed out after the robbers attacked him.

Judge George Webster accepted the evidence of Khoza's friend Arao Mabasa, that he sold Isabel's cellphone to one of his friends for R500 at Khoza's request.

Khoza told him the cellphone came from a crime scene where someone was killed and swore him to secrecy.

Mabasa spent several years in protective custody after Khoza's friends threatened to kill him if he testified.

The court accepted evidence that the sim card found in Khoza's phone during his arrest had been used in Isabel's phone on the same day of her murder.

Webster said Khoza had been part of a group who entered the home and was in possession of a gun intended for use during the robbery.

The gun had been carried on behalf of all the persons who entered the house, and shooting them had been intended to incapacitate them, to facilitate the theft of their property.

The shootings could therefore be attributed to all who were part of the conspiracy to enter the house, he said.

Khosa was acquitted on a charge of housebreaking with the intent to rob because it could not be proved that the intruders had broken in merely to gain entry into the house.

The trial was postponed to 27 September.