Picture: succo/Pixabay

Durban - A domestic worker and her two accomplices have been convicted of the murder and premeditated robbery of her employer, a Shallcross pensioner on Thursday. 

The Durban High Court found that although the evidence suggested that the domestic worker had not actively assaulted and strangled the elderly woman, they all acted in common purpose. 

Happiness Mkhize, 35, is alleged to be the mastermind behind the murder of Shallcross pensioner Hemrani Brijlal, 65, in May 2017. 

Mkhize and her accomplices Doctor Vitus Mabhida, 41, and Sibongiseni Patric Gumbi, 31, were found guilty of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Pinky Nonkululeko Cele, 32, Mkhize's cousin who was also arrested in 2017 was last week acquitted after no evidence was found to suggest that she had committed the crimes. 

Evidence presented by state advocate Khatija Essack was that on the day of the murder, the accused had entered Brijlal’s home on the pretext of wanting to buy a fridge. 

Once inside, the assailants bound and gagged her.

She was allegedly struck on the head with a brick and strangled with an apron. It is alleged that the criminals then went to her bedroom, where they searched for jewellery and money and fled the scene with R600 in cash, which had allegedly been in Brijlal’s drawer.

A post-mortem concluded that Brijlal had died of strangulation.

In her evidence, Mkhize testified that she worked one day in a week for Brijlal and had taken Gumbi and Mabhida to Brijlal as they were interested in buying the fridge from her. 

Judge Mahendra Chetty found that Mkhize's defence that she was told to say in her confession statement is possibly not true. 

He said although Gumbi and Mabhida had shifted the blame in their defence as to who did what, and had both disassociated themselves,  both of them including Mkhize allowed the crime to happened. 

"From the evidence, it shows that a plan to rob Brijlal was formulated before, but it's difficult to conclude that murder was also part of the plan and premeditated," said Chetty. 

"What matters is that they all acted in common purpose and with the desire to commit the crime," said Essack. 

Sentencing is expected on Thursday afternoon.

Daily News