Hammarsdale mother to face sentencing for murders

2016-03-18 11:30


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Pietermaritzburg - A judge will pass sentence today on a Hammarsdale woman who hired killers to murder her daughter.

Although it was not planned, the assassins also killed the woman’s six-year-old granddaughter, who was asleep with her mother when the killers struck during the night of June 12, 2014.

According to guilty plea statements by two of the assailants, it was decided that Bandile Kitty Mthembu also had to die as she saw the attack on her mother, Nompumelelo Mthembu (25), and could identify them.

Bandile and her mother were “strangled until they passed out”, then dragged to a secluded area where both their throats were slit.

This week, Sithabiso Gumede (30), Sanele Gumede (22) and Mthembu’s mother, Thandi Truelove Ndlovu (43), pleaded guilty before Judge Rishi Seegobin to murder charges arising from the killings. Only Sithabiso Gumede admitted guilt in respect of both murders, with Ndlovu and Sanele Gumede pleading guilty only to Mthembu’s murder on the grounds that the child’s murder was not planned and they had no part in it.

Sanele Gumede said in his statement that another accused — Sabelo Gumede (21), whose trial was separated because he pleaded guilty — was responsible for cutting Bandile and Mthembu’s throats.

“He took a knife out of his pocket and cut their throats … he said we must kill both because [the child] was going to identify us,” he said.

According to Ndlovu, Mthembu, who had been born out of wedlock, had lived apart from her for a long time since her late husband had not wanted her to live with them.

However, when he died she had invited her daughter and granddaughter to live with her in Hammarsdale.

Mthembu began living with her and her two other children in February 2014, but became troublesome as she was frequently intoxicated and “ill-treated” her, said Ndlovu. She also sometimes uttered threats towards Ndlovu and one of her half-sisters.

Ndlovu said she was persuaded by a relative to have Mthembu killed and paid R7 000 to facilitate the murder.

“I am deeply sorry for what happened to my child. I loved her. That is why I fetched her from Johannesburg to come and stay with me. If I had known it would end up like this, I would not have fetched her,” she said.

State advocate Candy Kander told Judge Seegobin that the state accepted that the case was unusual and that there were circumstances which might justify imposing less than life imprisonment.

However, she urged the court not to lose sight of the “savage, cruel and inhumane” nature of the crimes and the way the victims were killed, saying they were slaughtered like animals. Their bodies were thrown into bushes near a river and left. She also pointed out that none of the three accused had voluntarily handed themselves over to police, and said it had taken two years for them to decide to plead guilty.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  court

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