Two life terms plus 35 years in prison for Solik couple’s killer

2017-10-18 13:45
Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik.

Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - There was seemingly a “great measure of rage and venom” in the way the killers of Nottingham Road couple Christine and Roger Solik conducted themselves.

This was said by Acting Judge Anand Maharaj on Tuesday when he sentenced one self-confessed killer, Xolani Brian Ndlovu, to two life sentences plus a total of 35 years imprisonment for the kidnapping, robbery and murders of the couple.

They were attacked in their home, tied up and thrown into a river to die on February 17.

- Read more: Family 'devastated' as missing father's body found

The judge described their murders as “violent and vicious in the extreme”.

He said Christine Solik (57) suffered a total of 14 rib fractures. She was also bound with electrical cord on her wrists and ankles and had multiple bruises all over her body.

Roger Solik also had multiple bruises over his body. A pillow case was tied around his neck and covered his face and his hands and ankles were also tied with electrical cord.

“These were elderly citizens and hardly a threat to you, more so they were subdued and their hands tied behind their backs as well as their legs.

“Effectively they were rendered immobile. They were defenceless and there was no reason to harm them in the manner you did,” the judge told Ndlovu.

He added that it “beggars belief” that they had to die in such a violent and painful manner.

Acting Judge Maharaj told Ndlovu that the victim impact statements showed his actions “not only took the lives of a loving husband and wife, but also broke their family”.

“The Nguni word ubuntu is a very profound word. As I understand the word it encapsulates the essential human virtues of compassion, kindness and humanity to others. Your conduct was a glaring contradiction to ubuntu.”

Violent crimes

The judge said violent crimes that undermine the Constitution have become a concern to all law-abiding citizens of this country and courts must take measures to ensure safer living conditions.

One such measure was to impose exemplary sentences in cases of prevalent crimes to emphasise the retributive and deterrent aspects of punishment.

He said everyone has the right to privacy in their homes. In this case Ndlovu and his companion showed a flagrant disregard for the sanctity of the Solik’s home from which the couple were bound and kidnapped.

Judge Maharaj said everyone deserves to live in a safe environment. However, the pandemic and spiralling crime rate has created such a climate of uncertainty and lack of safety that it seemed as if it was inevitable that one would become a victim of crime. “Not if, but when,” he said.

He said the police investigation (and prosecution) in the present case had to be commended for its “swiftness and efficiency”.

“The more cases of swift justice and speedy retribution, the safer society will become. The perpetrators of such violent crimes need to know that their apprehension and arrest is inevitable and the fruits of their criminal conduct will always be bitter,” he said.

Previous convictions

The judge said he had considered the arguments by Ndlovu’s attorney, Lauren Marais, that he should find him deserving of a lesser sentence than the prescribed minimums because he had pleaded guilty.

But he said Ndlovu was not a first offender and had an “alarming and disturbing” list of previous convictions for housebreaking and theft.

On various occasions he committed crimes again shortly after being released on parole and had not learnt from previous sentences. As such he was a danger to society.

The judge also said he did not believe Ndlovu was genuinely remorseful. He had not apologised to the family of the victims, had not offered to testify against his accomplice, and had not surrendered himself to police.

Friends of the Soliks who attended the court hearing were satisfied that Ndlovu received the highest possible sentence.

However, they said nothing can bring the couple back or take away the trauma and pain of their murders.

A former co-accused of Ndlovu, who indicated earlier this week that he is pleading not guilty to the crimes, goes on trial today before a different judge.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  farm attacks

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