Durban — The State – in the murder trial of a Chatsworth pensioner – has asked that the court should not deviate from handing the killer the minimum prescribed sentence in relation to the slaying and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Senior State advocate Khatija Essack made this submission on Wednesday in the Durban High Court before Judge Mohini Moodley during her address on sentence.
On Monday, Bheki Msomi, 46, was convicted of the murder of Jinsee Ram, the attempted murder of her daughter Sangetha Prithipaul, as well as robbery with aggravating circumstances.
On the day of the murder and robbery, Msomi had entered the Ram home with Simphiwe Cele, Mthethunzima “Stars” Mpepho, and Luvo Mtshezane.
Cele was employed by the Ram family but deemed unfit to stand trial and remains at a state psychiatric hospital. It was Cele who strangled Ram in the presence of Msomi.
Mpepho, who was arrested by police, was a section 204 State witness and Mtshezane subsequently died after having been on the run.
Essack said the court should hand Msomi life for the murder, 15 years for the robbery, and 15 to 18 years for the attempted murder.
“The deceased was 73 years old; she was helpless. She did not resist and would have provided them with what they asked, they did not have to kill her in the manner they did.
“From the photos, you can see her stature – she was tiny. The deceased was loved in the community, helping others financially. Prithipaul during the attack bled and lost consciousness twice. The accused has not shown remorse. The defence has not shown any substantial or compelling circumstances for the court to deviate from the minimum sentences.”
She said when it came to common purpose, it was consistent with the fact that the offence was premeditated.
“It was premeditated to use violence before entering the house where they went in armed with a knife.
“The accused made no attempt to isolate himself; instead, he assaulted the complainant,” Essack said in aggravation of sentence.
The State also handed in the victim impact statement of Prithipaul for consideration in coming to a decision on sentence.
Msomi’s legal representative Sipho Radebe presented the court with his client’s personal circumstances and said that he had two children and had already spent three years and three months behind bars since his arrest.
“I submit that in sentencing, while I do take into account that he has been convicted of very serious offences, and ask the court to hand down a sentence with mercy.”
Judge Moodley is set to sentence Msomi today (Thursday).
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.