Mpuma hammer killed jailed for 30 years

2014-11-21 07:06
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Mbombela - An Mpumalanga man found guilty of beating to death an elderly farmer with a hammer has been sentenced to 30 years imprisonment on Thursday.

Welcome Zenzele Bulunga, 22, from Mganduzweni Trust near White River, was sentenced after pleading guilty to murder, robbery, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition in the Nelspruit Circuit of the High Court, a Sapa correspondent reported.

Bulunga was found guilty of killing Gerhardus Petrus de Beer, 82, and assaulting his blind wife, Nicolina Albertina Jacoba de Beer, 81, at their Spioenkop Farm near White River on 10 October 2013. He was arrested 13 days later.

The court heard that after assaulting the couple, Bulunga robbed them of two cellphones, a wrist watch, a television set, and two firearms.

According to the post-mortem results, De Beer succumbed to 23 injuries inflicted by Bulunga with a blunt instrument. His wife sustained a fractured hand.

In his plea statement, read out by his lawyer Percy Tshabalala, Bulunga said he was looking for grazing land for cattle near the farm on the day of the crime.

"I passed a farm house and saw a lawnmower on the lawn. I jumped over the fence and as I pushed it back towards the fence, I found a broken window in one of the buildings.

"When looking inside, I discovered it was a workshop full of tools. As I tried entering, an elderly man approached. I grabbed a hammer from the workshop, jumped over two fences and assaulted him," he said.

Bulunga said he pushed open the door of the farmer's house, found an old woman sitting on a chair, assaulted her with the hammer and demanded cash.

"When she replied she had none, I then saw the two firearms on the wall and took them. I also took the other items. While I was walking out carrying them, I saw the elderly man coming. I put the TV down and assaulted him again with the hammer," the court heard.

Bulunga said he ran to his grandmother's house in the village.

The next day he sold the two cellphones to Siphiwe Nkosi and Nonhlanhla Mashaba for R100 and R70. He took the firearms to his sister's house and hid them in the back seat of an old Isuzu bakkie.

"I give this statement with heartfelt remorse and ask for forgiveness from the De Beer family," he said.

Passing sentencing, Judge Peter Mabuse said: "You attacked the defenceless couple in the safety of their own home with no strength to protect themselves. The woman sustained a fractured hand as she tried protecting herself with bare hands."

He noted that Bulunga never gave a motive for the offence.

"You are sentenced to a total of 30 years imprisonment and declared unfit to possess a firearm," Mabuse said.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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