Pretoria - A 28-year-old security guard and his friend were jailed for life on Monday for murdering 70-year-old German pensioner Ute Wiing in her Pretoria home two years ago.
The Pretoria High Court sentenced Amos Mokgabudi, a security guard at Wiing's townhouse complex in Equestria, east of Pretoria, and his friend Frans Madiba to life and 15 years imprisonment each on charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Wiing was suffocated after being severely assaulted, trussed up and gagged. Her two attackers made off with her car, computer and other personal items.
Brian Mathebe was sentenced to an effective 15 years in jail for the illegal possession of Wiing's stolen car and a 9mm pistol with the serial number filed off. He had been caught driving Wiing's black Kia Picanto.
Madiba was in possession of Wiing's car on the morning of her murder, his fingerprints were found on her bathroom window and her computer, and some of her possessions were found in his room.
Some of the murdered woman's possessions were also found in Mokgabudi's room and Wiing's daughter found photos of him loaded onto her mother's computer after the murder.
Acting Judge Bert Bam said it was clear that the frail, ageing Wiing had died a painful and horrible death.
“It was a cruel, vicious and savage attack in the dark of night on a defenceless woman in the relative safety of her own home.
“The way they dealt with the deceased showed no mercy.
“She was trussed up so tightly that she was strangled and suffocated.
“The injuries to the side of her head and rib fractures create the impression that she was in fact tortured.
“The deceased turned 70 two weeks before her death. She was active and liked to travel. She also travelled through Africa.
“The trauma of her death severely affected her grandsons. One grandson was with his mother when the body was discovered.
“The second grandson was undergoing therapy at the time as a result of the death of one of his teachers. His grandmother's death aggravated his condition,” Bam said.
He said the personal circumstances of the accused - Mokgabudi and Madiba both have two children - receded into the background in matters of such a serious nature.
“It is disturbing and very frightening that incidents of this nature are rife and prevalent across our country.
“People looking for a safe environment move to security complexes where security guards are on duty 24 hours per day.
“Mokgabudi, a security guard at the deceased's complex, was actually in a position of trust on whom the occupants of the complex relied for their safety.”
He had abused this trust to kill and rob Wiing.
“The reason why he killed her is obvious. She probably recognised him,” said Bam.
“The robbery was clearly carefully planned and premeditated. This is a serious aggravating factor.
“The fact that no member of the public is safe any longer, not even in security complexes, is too ghastly to contemplate.
“The message is that crimes of this nature will be met with the full force of the law and will be severely punished,” he said. - Sapa