Durban — The State and defence will be addressing the Durban High Court on mitigation and aggravation of sentence on Wednesday in the murder trial of a Chatsworth pensioner who was strangled to death in her home in 2020 during a robbery.
On Monday, Bheki Msomi was convicted for 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, and was 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.
Ahead of sentencing proceedings, Prithipaul said she expects nothing less than life with no prospect of parole to be handed to Msomi.
“Actually, if I had it my way, I would torture him slowly with my bare hands and kill him without a second thought. After all, individuals like him are no asset to any society in any way or form. He does not deserve to live for having robbed me of my darling mother, my confidant, my everything. She added value to society, unlike these criminals, whose livelihood is dependent on stealing and other criminal activities.”
She said that although the scriptures taught compassion and forgiveness towards all of the Lord's creations, she cannot find it in her heart to have any empathy towards “these pathetic excuses for human beings.”
“Who gave them the authority to attack an innocent 73-year-old defenceless grandmother, let alone take her life? I think it is high time the death penalty is re-introduced. At least this will deter criminals from carrying out their activities of crime.”
In judgment, Judge Mohini Moodley discharged Mpepho from prosecution in all three charges.
Prithipaul said she was disappointed at the fact that the state witness (204) would be getting off scot-free as it was clear that crime was his livelihood.
“It won't be too long until he is involved in another robbery or murder. However, I do realise that the judge can only work with facts that she has and not assumptions. Whatever the sentence, it is not going to bring my dear mother back, so the heartache and anguish will continue. But I have some consolation that the sentence is in our favour. Nobody knows the pain and loss that I feel,” said Prithipaul.
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