Advocate Kenneth Pretorius consulting with Freddie Moleme while Motlholo Mosholodi sits in the dock at the NC High Court. Picture: Soraya Crowie/ANA Pictures

Kimberley - The two men who murdered a Jan Kempdorp man by stabbing him at least 49 times, were on Tuesday in the Northern Cape High Court respectively sentenced to life imprisonment and 22 years imprisonment.

The accused, Motlholo Mosholodi, 23, and Freddie Moleme were found guilty on charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances after they stabbed the deceased, Freddie Lebona, numerous times and slit his throat during an incident which occurred in Jan Kempdorp on November 21, 2015.

The pair also stole the deceased’s cellphone as well as an unknown amount of money.

Mosholodi pleaded guilty to the charge of murder and not guilty to the charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances, while Moleme pleaded not guilty to both charges against him.

According to Mosholodi’s statement, which was read to the court by his legal representative, Advocate Lentswe Setouto, the incident happened after the deceased and another man wanted to stab Mosholodi.

According to police spokesperson, Captain Olebogeng Tawana, it was found that the accused were drinking at a local tavern at Masakeng in Jan Kempdorp on the day of the incident and schemed to murder Lebona, who was also at the same tavern.

“At about 3am they followed Lebona, stabbed him more than 40 times and slit his throat. The accused dragged the deceased to the dumping site and concealed his body. During the investigation the police, with the assistance of community members, made the gruesome discovery of Lebona’s body. His body was found covered with stones and debris near a dumping site in Masakeng, Jan Kempdorp."

“The accused were arrested shortly on the scene while they were also pretending to be part of the community members who were assisting with the search for Lebona’s body. Evidence, including the cellphone which they robbed from the deceased and blood stained clothes, was found at the residence of the accused,” Tawana said.

They spent 18 months in police custody while awaiting trial.

Mosholodi, in his statement, apologised for his actions and asked for forgiveness from the deceased’s family.

While delivering sentence in the Northern Cape High Court on Tuesday, acting Judge Lawrence Lever, stated that the key question was whether substantial and compelling evidence was presented to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.

Lever noted that the circumstances of Mosholodi and Moleme differed considerably.

“While Mosholodi pleaded guilty to the murder, showed remorse and even apologised to the deceased’s family for the crime, this must however be weighed up against the cruelty of the attack, as well as the painful nature of the Lebona’s death,” Lever said.

“Moleme showed no appreciation of the consequences of his actions and also no remorse or responsibility for what happened. I thus find no substantial or compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence with regards to this accused,” Lever added.

Lever further stated that he had to consider the crime, the offender, as well as the interest of society when handing down sentence.

“The evidence shows that the murder was extremely cruel and the medical report showed that Lebona sustained at least 49 stab wounds, and died as a result of blood loss. He was also made to walk a considerable distance while injured, begging for his life repeatedly. The pointless nature of his death further serves as an aggravating factor,” Lever said.

He then went on to find that with regard to Mosholodi, substantial or compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence were indeed presented, while this was not the case with Moleme.

Lever sentenced Mosholodi to 12 years’ imprisonment for the aggravated robbery and 22 years for the murder. The two sentences will run concurrently.

Moleme was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for the aggravated robbery and life imprisonment for the murder. These sentences will also run concurrently.

The Northern Cape police management on Tuesday applauded the investigating officer, Sergeant Futa, and the NPA and Department of Justice for “ensuring that hardened criminals do not see the light of day, by spending a jail term behind bars”.

“Both life imprisonment and 22 years’ imprisonment shall serve as retribution and a deterrent to criminals. Criminals should know and understand that they do not have space in our society, jail is a better place for them,” Tawana said.

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