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Farm killings giving SA a bad name - judge

Published May 31, 2006


Family and friends of murdered Boston woman Jacqueline Chatterton, 46, said they were "relieved" and "impressed" when KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Vuka Tshabalala sentenced the second of her killers to life imprisonment in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.

Chatterton was stabbed to death on October 31 last year in what Tshabalala described as "the most savage and brutal killing one can think of". He said an aggravating feature of the case was its racial connotation and that farm killings gave South Africa a bad name.

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"When I was in New Zealand I saw a television clip showing farm killings in the Richmond area. White people in New Zealand think that the people in South Africa are brutal people who kill farmers.

"This is bad for the country and the economy. The farmers are there to produce the food we eat and rear cattle for meat... if they are killed this brings down the economy."

Chatterton's sister-in-law, Jane Bruton, who attended the trial of Thuthukani Miya, 22, of Donnybrook, along with her sister and brother-in-law, Jill and James Domleo, who are also farmers, said farm attacks were "scary" and a daily fear in the farming community.

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Chatterton's husband, James, who had given emotional testimony earlier in the trial describing his fruitless race to get his severely injured wife to hospital, did not attend the sentencing. Her parents and sister had also felt unable to attend the trial, said Bruton.

Tshabalala said Miya's accomplice - David Ndlovu, who was jailed for life after pleading guilty in another trial last week - was "lucky" not to have been killed by those who arrested him in Chatterton's house immediately after the stabbing.

"In some situations he would have been killed by all those people who came there (when the alarm was raised). This shows we still have law in this country because they brought the man to justice for him to be tried and for the world to know that the courts pass judgments and sentences that are appropriate."

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Also in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, Judge Leona Theron sentenced two people to life terms and another to 25 years' imprisonment for the murder of policeman-turned-farmer Chris Moolman, 38, at Cedarville in southern KwaZulu-Natal on June 1 2004.

Theron said although the court was obliged to take into account the youth of two of the accused, she was aware that some of the most heinous, violent and brutal offences were being committed by youthful offenders. Such offenders should not be allowed to hide behind their youth and claim leniency, she said.

Nkosiphendule Ludidi, Bukhosibakhe Ntuli, both 18, and Andile Ludidi, 26, accosted Moolman's gardener after watching him leave the farm. They then ransacked the house taking items including a rifle, shotgun and ammunition and hid waiting for Moolman's return. When Moolman entered the kitchen he was shot dead with his own shotgun.

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Moolman's wife, Annalise, and his father, Kenneth, said after the sentencing they felt justice had prevailed.

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