The Mpumalanga High Court has sentenced two brothers each to 37 years in prison for the murder of a British national, Susan Deborah Howarth, at Dullstroom in 2017.
Meshack Nkosinathi Yika, 28, and Themba William Yika, 38, were originally charged along with Lucas Makau, who has since died.
“On February 18 2017, the three broke into farmhouse of Marchlands in Dullstroom, in the district of Belfast and found the couple sleeping.
“They attacked them with a blowtorch, and shot Susan in the head who later succumbed to injuries,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said.
She said the three men then shot her husband once in the neck and dragged him to the lounge where they demanded money from him.
“They continued to assault the complainant until he opened the safe and took an amount of R320, two cellphones and a camera.
“They further burnt him with blowtorch several times on his body. He gave them his bank card and the PIN number with the hope that they would leave him.
“Instead, they covered his face with a plastic bag and forced both the deceased and the surviving victim in their van and drove away. They then threw them out along the road. The matter was reported to the police and the investigations led to their arrest,” Nyuswa said.
During the trial, prosecutor Adv Eric Sihlangu led evidence from Howarth’s husband, who told the court what he observed on the day of the ordeal.
In aggravation of sentence, Sihlangu submitted three victim impact statements, one compiled by the surviving victim. It detailed how the incident of losing his loved one had affected him and said his experience left him traumatised.
Judge Lineo Liphoto found the accused guilty as charged.
She sentenced them to 15 years each for housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery, five years each for discharge of a firearm in a built-up area, 20 years each for murder, 12 years each for attempted murder, five years each for theft and another five years each on each count of kidnapping.
The court ordered some of the sentences to run concurrently, meaning they will each serve 37 years.
Mpumalanga director of public prosecutions Nkebe Kanyane welcomed the conviction and sentence.
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