063.Father Louis Blondel who was killed this morning in Deipslot.071209 Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Johannesburg - The final chapter in the murder of a Diepsloot priest nearly three years ago was written this week when four of the culprits were sentenced to jail terms ranging between eight and 10 years.

Kgaugelo Manzini and Freddy Mahlangu were each sentenced to an affective 10 years, while Thembalethu Sindane and Jabu Ndebele were each sentenced to an effective eight years in jail.

They weren’t convicted of murdering Father Louis Blondel, as initially charged, but of culpable homicide, as well as housebreaking with the intent to rob and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The four earlier pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Three admitted that they were at the parish in Diepsloot on the night of December 9, 2009, when Blondel was shot dead, but denied they had anything to do with the killing.

The forth, Sindane, said he wasn’t on the scene and only afterwards agreed to hide a computer on behalf of the others.

Manzini maintained that he waited outside the parish while the others went inside, while the other two said they had no idea their former co-accused, Nelson Malope, was carrying a gun that night.

They said they were extremely shocked when they heard the shot .

They told the court that the fact that Malope was “trigger happy” was not their fault.

Malope, who earlier pleaded guilty to murder and was subsequently sentenced to 18 years, had testified that he had seen how to cock a firearm on television, but did not know what happened when he shot and killed Blondel.

He said his four co-accused knew that he was taking a firearm along when they decided to rob the parish. The idea was to “only scare” the people inside the parish.

Malope said he was surprised by the priest after they broke in. He saw the priest standing in the doorway, it was dark, he panicked and a shot went off. - Pretoria News