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KZN man pleads guilty to murdering elderly woman and her daughter, blames load shedding

Shane Steven Boucher, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and one of the theft in the Pietermaritzburg High Court this week.

Shane Steven Boucher, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and one of the theft in the Pietermaritzburg High Court this week.

Published Jul 4, 2022

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Durban - A 38-year-old Pietermaritzburg man, who pleaded guilty to killing an elderly woman and her daughter after enjoying a few drinks with them, has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Shane Steven Boucher, 38, pleaded guilty to murdering Rita Westfahl, 76, and her 58-year-old daughter, Carol Lesley Westfahl on the 25th of May 2022.

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Boucher also plead guilty to one count of theft.

According to his Section 105A sentence and plea agreement, Boucher said on the day of the murders, he had consumed three 750 ml bottles of Black Label beer at his residence in Thornville.

At around 1pm, he said he stopped drinking and decided to visit his friend, Harold, at Oribi Village.

He intended going to Durban to visit family thereafter.

Boucher told the court he packed a bag and proceeded to Oribi Village.

Boucher, who works as a construction worker on a farm, said when he arrived at Oribi Village, Harold was not home and decided to visit Rita at her home.

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He had known Rita because his mother had been neighbours with her for 15 years, and he had a good relationship with Rita and her daughter.

Boucher told the court that she was welcoming, and during the visit, they shared two 750ml quarts of Lion Lager beers.

He said she was concerned it was too late for him to travel and suggested he stay over, which he accepted.

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He said they all went to bed.

Boucher said at around 11pm, there was load shedding, and he went to drink water in the kitchen.

“It was still load shedding, and the kitchen was dark.”

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He said, while drinking water, he felt a presence behind him, and without checking who it was, he drew his knife from his belt and stabbed Rita twice in the neck.

Boucher said when he realised it was Rita, he was shocked.

He decided to get his bag from the bedroom and run away, but encountered Carol in the passageway.

Boucher said he realised that Carol would see what he did and tell the police.

He panicked and decided to kill Carol and silence her by stabbing her twice in the head.

Boucher said he went to the room to get his bag.

He said because it was late, he decided to steal Rita's car and decided to drive to Bluff, Durban.

He lived on the beach for two weeks until his arrest on June 14, 2022.

He was arrested while buying a loaf of bread from the supermarket by a police officer, who recognised him as a wanted person.

Boucher immediately confessed to the police.

In mitigation of sentence, the court heard that Boucher was a first time offender and had two children who lived with their mother.

He told the court that he was truly remorseful for his actions.

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