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Johannesburg - As the families of Kyle Fredericks and Shinawaaz Ahmento hugged and cracked jokes with them, their victim’s father couldn’t take his eyes off them.
The Johannesburg High Court, sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, had just found the two 21-year-olds guilty of murder, rape and robbery.
On April 26 last year, Fredericks and Ahmento broke into Tracey-Lee Martins’s Klipspruit West home just after midnight to steal her handbag because they wanted money for drugs.
Ahmento raped Martins and strangled her with socks as she lay in her bed in the house he used to frequent.
They found Martins, her son – who was 3 at the time – and his 74-year-old grandmother Rookeya van der Westhuizen.
Ahmento attacked the old woman and strangled her as well.
Fredericks and Ahmento robbed the women before fleeing the scene.
As they fled, Fredericks threw the socks he had used to kill Martins in a drain.
Handing down judgment, Acting Judge Louis Vorster said the pair had acted in common purpose to rob Martins, hence they went to her house.
However, there was no common purpose in her murder. It was not planned, he said.
The judge said Ahmento had told the police in a confession statement that Fredericks trampled on Martins’s neck and he had warned him that he was killing her.
“I find that Fredericks murdered Martins by strangling her with socks, and then went outside and joined Ahmento,” he said.
Ahmento was found to have not taken part in the murder and was found guilty of rape, robbery and assault for strangling Martins’s grandmother.
“Ahmento is found guilty of common assault for slapping and choking Van der Westhuizen. He never intended to kill her,” Judge Vorster said.
The two convicted men’s families took advantage of a break in the proceedings while the pair waited to be taken back to the holding cells to say their farewells and to banter.
It was then that Martins’s incredulous father, Andre Balutto, stood staring in amazement at the two young men.
Balutto had avoided the trial because he did not want to listen to gruesome details of how his daughter was attacked.
When he finally went to court on Tuesday, he had arrived with a mental picture of what the rapists and murderers looked like.
In court, he found a dissonance in the picture he had in his head and reality.
“I can’t believe that a human being that looks as innocent as they do can do the stuff they did, I’m shocked.
“Is it the way they were brought up? What could have driven them to do this?” Balutto asked as he watched the two chatting with their families.
Balutto felt that justice was done when the two were found guilty, but Martin’s uncle Richard was not happy as he believed that the police had not done a proper job that would have ensured the pair got a heavy sentence.
It emerged in court during the court case that other people were arrested along with the two men, but were later released.
Of those arrested, only Ahmento’s DNA was taken.
The doctor who had treated Van der Westhuizen was not called to testify, which meant there was no report detailing Van der Westhuizen’s injuries.
Sentence was expected to be handed down on Wednesday.