Double murder mastermind sentenced after killing husband

2016-02-01 20:30


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Pretoria – A 30-year-old woman who hired killers to get rid of her husband and the man she hired to kill him was on Monday sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria to an effective 20 years imprisonment.

Judge Tati Makgoka sentenced a stony-faced Portia Tsotetsi of Sakhile near Standerton to a total of 40 years imprisonment for the 2012 murders of her teacher husband, Nzimeni Sithatu, and her husband's murderer, Dumisani Ngubeni.

He ordered that Tsotetsi, who had approached several people to murder her husband after finding out that she was HIV-positive, must effectively serve 20 years of her prison term.

Nhlanhla Stanley Dube, 39, who was in turn hired to kill Ngubeni, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Tsotetsi claimed she only realised she was HIV-positive after finding out that her husband was taking anti-retrovirals in secret. When she confronted him, he admitted his status and she had herself tested.

She obtained the services of Ngubeni to help her kill her husband in such a way to create the impression of suicide. Her husband was found hanged in their bathroom.

Stabbed to death

When Ngubeni started blackmailing her for money, she contacted him to come and fetch the money she owed him at her house, where he was overpowered by Dube and another man. He was stabbed to death and his body thrown in a river.

Makgoka ruled that Tsotetsi's belief that her husband had infected her with HIV, her clean criminal record and the fact that she had already spent more than three years in prison could be regarded as mitigating factors.

Although the state argued that she had not given her HIV status as a reason to any of the hitmen she tried to hire, the judge said she was unlikely to have divulged her status to all and sundry, given the stigma attached to people with HIV.

"According to the evidence the only life changing occurrence in her life was her discovery that she was HIV-positive. I am prepared to accept it had a negative effect on her.

"Although medicine and science have progressed to a stage where HIV and Aids can be regarded as normal chronic conditions, it still strikes fear in many people's minds to find out they're HIV-positive.

"... I'm prepared to accept that the discovery affected her ability to make rational decisions. ... In her mind, rightly or wrongly, her husband had infected her with HIV," Makgoka said.

No remorse

He said Tsotetsi had not displayed any remorse, but she had struck him as an intelligent, if manipulative and conniving, person who could one day play a positive role in society.

Makgoka ruled that Dube, who had two previous convictions for theft, had not been coerced by anyone and had murdered his victim purely for financial reasons. There was nothing in his favour to justify a lesser sentence.

He stressed that it might appear ironic that Dube, who was contracted to kill, was given a more severe sentence than the person who hired him, but it was the court's duty to look at each accused's circumstances individually.

Sithatu's four surviving brothers made it clear that they were not happy with the sentence and urged the prosecution to appeal against Tsotetsi's sentence.

"She deserved two life sentences. She was the mastermind of both murders. The second guy she hired got life," said brother Bhekise Sithatu.

"We're very unhappy. My brother was a good man. He was a teacher who was involved in organising sport at his school and he was also involved in the community.

"They were only married for two years. We will never forgive her. She showed no remorse. She never admitted her involvement.

"She told the judge she wanted to meet us, but she never told us she was sorry. Actually we don't need her to ask forgiveness," Bhekise said.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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