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A farm worker convicted of killing a Mpumalanga farmer in 2010 was sentenced to 43 years in prison by the Nelspruit Circuit of the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.
In passing sentence, Judge Mmonoa Teffo described Aaron Majawodwa Nkosi as a very violent man, who had a previous conviction for assault for which he served six months in 2005, a Sapa correspondent reported.
Nkosi was found guilty of robbing and kidnapping Güdryn Schoeman, 70, and murdering her husband Johannes Hendrik Tolstoi Schoeman, 86, at their home at Vygeboom Farm near Badplaas on December 17, 2010.
Teffo said Nkosi and his co-accused, who was acquitted, lived and grew up on the same farm.
“They knew the Schoemans very well... (the) act was perpetrated by greed and personal gain. The deceased was a defenceless elderly citizen and didn't resist.
“The same applied to his wife. She submitted to their commands and they took advantage of the situation.”
Teffo also clarified that Nkosi was 27-years-old, not 30 as reflected on the charge sheet.
Teffo told Nkosi that because of his criminal acts, many people could lose jobs at the farm.
“You were working as a farm labourer at the time and earned R1500 a month. There was nothing to force you to commit the crime.”
Nkosi's actions had traumatised Güdryn Schoeman, Teffo said.
“You maintained your innocence during the entire trial and never showed any remorse.”
Courts were expected to send a message to prospective criminals that barbaric conduct was not welcome in society.
Teffo sentenced Nkosi to life imprisonment for the murder, 15 years for robbery, and three years for kidnapping.
The sentences would run consecutively, adding up to a total of 43 years.
Nkosi's co-accused, Thomas Johannes Nyathi, 30, was acquitted, despite his blood being found in the car used to abduct the farmer's wife, which they crashed on the night of the murder.
Although the blood samples matched Nyathi's, the State had failed to prove its case against him.
Teffo recounted the events of December 17, 2010, when two men entered the Schoemans's house in the middle of the night.
Armed with a knife and a panga, the men attacked the farmer in his bedroom.
His wife, who slept on the second floor of the house, awoke to the smell of burning plastic.
“As she went to check if the stove was left on, she heard her husband snoring heavily but strangely.
“As she entered her husband's room to check, she was attacked and her mouth closed,” Teffo told the court.
The men demanded money and weapons and when they found nothing, she agreed to withdraw cash from an ATM.
“They drove with her to a Belfast ATM where R2000 was withdrawn, leaving her husband dead on the floor,” Teffo said.
“Before they left, the accused took a tracksuit top, put it around his (Schoeman's) neck, pulled it tight and strangled him to death,” the judge said.
Teffo said the farmer was left on the floor next to the bed with his hands and feet tied.
Post-mortem results indicated that Schoeman died of strangulation.
The judge said that after withdrawing the money, they went to Middelburg but were involved in an accident on the R33 Carolina
Two young constables from Carolina police station rescued the woman. They alerted Badplaas police and asked them to go to the farm.
On Wednesday, Güdryn Schoeman presented Nkosi with a Bible and advised him to seek Jesus Christ. - Sapa