Welkom – A man has been sentenced to 46 years in jail for killing a Phuthaditjhaba SA Police Service officer just over three years ago, Free State police said on Sunday.

Phuthaditjhaba flying squad member Warrant Officer Thomas Mohlouwa Mngomezulu, 49, was attacked by assailants and overpowered in Maokeng in December 2012, spokesman Captain Stephen Thakeng said.

He was robbed of his purse, service firearm, and then murdered. His private vehicle was found abandoned near Brentpark, Kroonstad, and his body was found in the veld in Maokeng.

The case was assigned to the Hawks in Welkom for investigation. Subsequently, two men were arrested for the murder.

The two were charged with murder and they remained in custody until the trial ended on February 26, 2016, with one of the two men being acquitted.

However, the other man, Jack Smous, 32, was found guilty as charged and sentenced to 46 years in jail. The case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Scala Vinger of the Hawks in Welkom.

“We would like to applaud the team of investigators under the leadership of Detective Sergeant Vinger which led to these arrests and ultimately one accused being sent to jail.

“Police murders is a crime against the state. The residents must not tolerate situations where their own police are being murdered; instead report the perpetrators so that they can face the might of the law,” Thakeng said.