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A KwaZulu-Natal man was given three life sentences on Friday for killing a Mooi River farmer's wife, a helper, and a gardener.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court earlier convicted Mzwandile Magubane, 21, a gang member who started a fire in July 2010 to draw people from a farmhouse.

Acting Judge Muzi Thom Ncube said Magubane's conduct was so aggravating that it overrode any mitigating factors, such as his relative youth and that he was a first time offender.

“You deprived three defenceless people of their right to life,” Ncube said.

Attacks on innocent people, particularly in the farming community, would not be tolerated, he said.

Magubane was found guilty of murdering Lorraine Karg, Hilda Linyane and Shayi Mhlongo.

They were murdered while Karg's husband Neville and his staff were dousing the fire.

The gang cut Karg and Mhlongo's throats. Linyane was shot. - Sapa