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Johannesburg - Tracey-Lee Martins’s uncle arrived at court with the hope that the men who raped, robbed and killed his niece would be given life sentences.
However, immediately after their sentencing, Richard Martins stormed out of the courtroom, sat on the bench outside, covered his face with his hands and wept.
The sentence was a joke and his niece did not get justice, he said.
Shinawaaz Ahmento, 21, received an effective 15 years for raping Martins as well as robbing and assaulting her grandmother.
Kyle Fredericks, 21, received an effective 23 years for raping Martins, and robbing and murdering her.
“They should have got life for taking a life. We won’t see Tracey anymore and now they want to blame drugs? It’s not like she was killed on the streets, she was killed at home in her bed,” Richard said while his wife consoled him.
Fredericks and Ahmento broke into Martins’s home on April 26 last year with the intention of stealing her handbag. They had just finished smoking crystal meth and wanted to buy more.
Both had raped Martins, while Fredericks had strangled her.
Martins’s son, who was 3 years old at the time, witnessed the attack on his mother.
Ahmento went to Martins’s grandmother’s room, assaulting and robbing her.
After the sentencing, Martins’s relatives stood outside court with tears in their eyes, looking at Ahmento and Fredericks as they hugged their families.
“I’m looking at these women saying goodbye to their children. At least they can still see them, we will never see Tracey again,” Martins’s aunt Cheryl said.
In handing down sentence, Acting Judge Louis Vorster said the two were led astray by drugs.
Addressing Fredericks, the judge said: “You went with the intention to rob Martins, but things went wrong as she recognised you and called your name.
“She died a gruesome death and you showed no remorse. You were still young and you were a victim of drug abuse.”
Judge Vorster found Ahmento had shown remorse by making a confession to the police and also giving more details during his testimony.
Outside court, Fredericks’s mother approached the Martins family with the intention of apologising.
Yvette Fredericks-Patel touched Martins’s cousin to get her attention.
“Don’t touch me,” the woman responded.
Fredericks-Patel, 42, whose eyes were red from crying, said her son was not a murderer.
“I don’t think Kyle killed her. He was probably there, but I don’t believe he killed her. My inner gut tells me it’s not him. He even said to me, ‘Mommy, I’m going to jail for something I did not do’,” she said.
Fredericks-Patel said her son had a drug problem and she had sought help for him in the past, without success.
She said her son had anger problems that stemmed from being teased a lot because of his limp.
Martins’s grandmother was not in court for the sentencing.
Rookeya van der Westhuizen, 74, has since moved in with her daughter in Roodepoort.
She was also disappointed with the sentences.
“I’m miserable. They were supposed to get a life sentence. They brutally killed Tracey, but the Lord will judge them,” she said.