Port Elizabeth - Just over two years after their daughter was shot and killed execution style in their home, the parents of slain Aliya 'Angel' Tee, 12, are one step closer to getting some closure after justice was served in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday.
Nealon Redhouse, 18, and Deon Harmse, 24, were found guilty for the schoolgirl's murder and the attempted murder of her parents Candice and Edmund Tee.
The couple who were not at court on Tuesday, are now part of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) witness protection programme and live a life isolated from their family and community.
Speaking after the judgment holding back tears, Candice's brother, Gary Geduld said it was important that his sister got closure.
"This sends out a good message to the community. The community must just keep faith and justice will be served," he said.
Candice's sister, Ranchia Andrews said it was the two year anniversary of Angel's death on June 7th.
She encouraged parents who have lost children due to gang violence to keep the faith. Andrews said the family had no contact with the Tee's since they had entered the witness protection programme.
The Grade 7 pupil and prefect at Strelitzia Primary School in Port Elizabeth's Northern Areas was killed in June 2016 when gunmen, posing as police officers, forced open the back door of their Barberry Street home in Bethelsdorp.
Her father was shot and incapacitated while trying to fend off the attackers.He is paralysed and has to make use of a wheelchair.
After the men shot Edmund they proceeded to look for other family members in the home. Tee and her mother ran to the bathroom when they were discovered by the gunmen.
After pleading with the men not to shoot, the schoolgirl was shot execution style in the head. Her mother survived the tragic incident and passed out during the shooting. She later regained consciousness to discover her daughter’s lifeless body covered in blood.
Judge Mandela Makaula found the motive for the attack was linked to Candice having witnessed the murder of a notorious gangster.
Donovan 'Staal' Berry was killed in a hail of bullets in what was believed to be an assassination by rival gang members.
Makaula found that the Tee's were credible witnesses and their suffering did not affect their ability to identity their attackers.
"She saw her child lying in a pool of blood but gave credible evidence. They were credible witnesses who's evidence was not shaken under cross examination," he said.
Makaula said that despite their statements to police being different to what was said in court, their inconsistencies were immaterial and their initial police statements were not logical.
He said that it was understandable that the Tee's might have been confused on the night of the attack. He said the trauma they suffered did not affect their ability to relive the events.
Makaula said it was unbearable when he had to listen to a phone call made by a hysterical Candice to police on the night her daughter was killed in cold blood.
Makaula also convicted the killers on a charge relating to them posing as police members and housebreaking with intent to commit murder.
Redhouse was found guilty of unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition. Sentencing proceedings will get underway on July 26.
African News Agency (ANA)