He also sentenced the youth to 3 years for the theft of the victim’s motor vehicle and to 3 years for attempting to defeat the ends of justice by setting fire to the victim’s body.
All three sentences will run concurrently.
In April 2018, the accused, who was then 17 years old, was living with a friend and the friend’s uncle, in Umgababa.
On the evening of 30 April 2018, the friend was involved in a physical altercation with his uncle, which resulted in the 17-year-old intervening on behalf of his friend, disarming the uncle, and stabbing him with his own knife.
The two youngsters removed the deceased’s identity document, wallet and bank cards from the body, and under cover of darkness they loaded the deceased’s body into his bakkie and drove the bakkie into the canefields.
After dumping the body in the sugarcane, they set fire to the cane with the intention of destroying the evidence of their crime.
They then drove the bakkie back to the homestead, but on the way, they ran out of fuel.
They abandoned the bakkie and continued on foot. The accused told the court that on reaching the homestead, he and his friend had smoked some dagga and had then gone to bed.
On 1 May the charred body of the accused was recovered from the canefield and was taken to the Park Rynie Mortuary, where it was identified by the deceased’s brother. The post mortem report stated that the deceased had suffered multiple stab wounds to the neck and the head.
In August 2019, the accused pleaded guilty to all 3 charges of murder, robbery and attempting to defeat the ends of justice, but later denied taking the deceased’s personal possessions for himself.
His co-accused pleaded guilty to murder, but not guilty to the other 2 charges, and was remanded to face a separate trial.
According to the pre-sentencing reports submitted to the court during February 2020, the accused had been a well-behaved and co-operative prisoner during his 22 month incarceration and it was felt that if he were able to continue his education while in prison, he would be a suitable candidate for rehabilitation.
He must, however, not be allowed to possess a firearm after his release.
The possibility of releasing the accused from prison and placing him under correctional supervision (house arrest) was rejected by the court.