Botched Richmond bank heist three to learn fates soon

2016-04-26 11:48

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Pietermaritzburg - Three men on trial for murder and other charges arising from an attempted heist at Capitec Bank in Richmond in 2014, will learn their fate on May 3.

Judge Rishi Seegobin said on Friday that he would need time to consider submissions from the men’s attorneys and state advocate Candy Kander.

“A wealth of evidence has been led in this case and the issues are quite complex,” he said.

Kander urged the court to find all three men guilty on all the counts facing them. She said there was evidence directly linking Thulani Doncabe (40) and Siboniso Mpanza (20) to the offences, as well as cellphone evidence connecting them to the crimes.

Sandile Shongwe (34), the only one of the trio on bail, is only linked by circumstantial evidence to the effect that his cellphone was allegedly activated at the various crime scenes and was used to communicate with some of the other alleged gang members.

Shongwe denied being in possession of his cellphone or SIM card, which was registered in his name, at the time. He denied participating in the attempted robbery and related crimes.

Policemen had testified that they had arrested Doncabe and Mpanza while they were hiding in a sugar cane field outside Richmond shortly after the attempted heist.

The heist did not go as planned because the cash box imploded and the money was stained with dye.

Security guard Sicelo Phungula was shot and killed by the robbers.

A gun battle erupted in the street outside the bank between police and the fleeing gang members, injuring bystanders Hlengiwe Jama, Musa Phiri, Jones King and Nonhle Khumalo.

The robbers then escaped in stolen vehicles, which were abandoned near a quarry.

The robbers allegedly set up an “ambush” at that spot for police in pursuit and shot dead Sergeant Thamsanqa Zondi and wounded Constable Sbonelo Mpanza.

Three other alleged members of the robber gang — Andile Hlongwane, Siphithemba Mtshali and Senzo Mtolo — were shot dead during a subsequent search of the area.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court

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