Court clips two-time escapee's wings with 2 life sentences

2018-12-21 17:25
Mongezi Mcunukelwa. (Supplied)

Mongezi Mcunukelwa. (Supplied)

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Mongezi Mcunukelwa, 32, isn't having a good festive season.

Just days after he was re-arrested after escaping from the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg he has been slapped with two life sentences.

He was convicted in the same court on Friday.

Mcunukelwa first made headlines when he escaped from Johannesburg prison as an awaiting trial prisoner along with 15 other inmates on April 9.

He was caught 10 days later in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape.

On December 5, Mcunukelwa and Nkosingiphe Thwala, 25, bolted out of the High Court. Mcunukelwa was apprehended six days later in Phumula, Ekurhuleni.

ALSO READ: Joburg High Court escape: Alleged serial killer Mongezi Mcunukelwa among the two men at large

Thwala remains at large and is on the police's wanted list.

Heavy police presence

On Friday, Mcunukelwa and co-accused Akson Mzotho, 33, were sentenced to two life terms each for the deaths of Mpho Richard Morabe and Mokete Ben Moloi.

Morabe and Moloi were shot and killed in March 2017 in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni.

On Friday, Mcunukelwa and Mzotho appeared in court under heavy police guard before they were sentenced.

READ: Alleged multiple murderer Mongezi Mcunukelwa rearrested after High Court escape

Mcunukelwa's court woes are far from over, however, with two other trials scheduled for 2019. He is also expected to stand trial on two charges of escaping from custody.

His trial for the murder of Richard Mthabela is expected to commence on April 15.

Mcunukelwa will appear alongside two co-accused, Sanele Magida and Paseka Mahloromela.

He will be back in court on May 13 to face four counts of murder and another of illegal possession of a firearm.

He will appear alongside Magida, Mahloromela, Vuyolethu Kilani and Mkhululi Mahlangu.

Sentences welcomed

According to the charge sheet, which News24 has seen, it is alleged that in June 2017, Mcunukelwa went to pick up Peter Pholle, Welcome Godlo, Sithandile Ngungwana and Sifiso Msibi-Mdluli and took them to a house in Katlehong to sort out their differences with Kilani.

Things took a fatal turn when an argument broke out between all the accused, and Mcunukelwa grabbed a firearm from Magida and shot at Pholle, Godlo, Ngungwana and Msibi-Mdluli. 

Three of the victims died instantly, with the fourth succumbing to his injuries at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital.

Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said acting Gauteng police commissioner Max Masha welcomed the sentences.

"The two men were a nuisance in our society and have hurt families. Their convictions will send a strong message to others to think twice before breaking the law. Masha applauds the police investigating team, the prosecution and judge for ensuring that the two men are removed from society.

"We are calling for the public in assisting us with re-arresting Thwala," said Masondo. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  courts
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