KwaZulu-Natal - The man who murdered SA polo star Sibusiso Duma began serving his 18-year jail term at the weekend.

Sibongiseni Mchunu, 25, was sentenced on Friday to 15 years by the Pietermaritzburg High Court for Duma’s murder on May 1, in Lidgetton, near Howick, and to three years for attempting to murder his (Mchunu’s) girlfriend, Smangele Sondeza.

Mchunu had pleaded not guilty saying that after discovering “love messages” from Duma on Sondeza’s cellphone, he became angry and confronted her. He claimed he had assaulted her with his open hands, and that she had grabbed a knife.

During a struggle for the knife, Sondeza was stabbed. Mchunu maintained that he had never intended to stab her and that it was an accident.

As for Duma’s murder, Mchunu said he had been in a taxi at the time he was stabbed.

However, Judge Kevin Swain rejected Mchunu’s version of events. He had been fuelled by jealousy and anger at finding “love messages” on his girlfriend’s cellphone when he stabbed her and then sought and murdered Duma, he said.

That Sondeza survived was solely owing to the fact that she had escaped from him.

Duma represented SA against Australia in the Kirkland international in 2009. - The Mercury