Pretoria - Delighted Eersterust residents broke out in spontaneous clapping after a judge sentenced the killer of well-known community member Molly Fisher to life behind bars.
Kgangetsile Abram Tshukudu, who was 26 when he brutally murdered Fisher, 47, in her home, appeared upset when he heard his fate.
But family and friends of Fisher who packed the public gallery and wore T-shirts bearing her picture, shouted “Yes!” when they heard that he would be locked up for a very long time.
Others shouted “Bastard!” when Tshukudu spoke briefly to his advocate afterwards. He clutched his laptop to his chest as he hastily made his way down to the holding cells, amid a chorus of “Bye-bye!” from the public gallery. Family members afterwards said: “There is now one murderer less.”
Fisher, who was described as a pillar of the Eersterust community, was discovered dead in the passage of her James Dewrance Crescent home on August 1, 2015. She had been strangled.
Several household items were missing, including laptops, a television set and her car.
Tshukudu denied guilt and said he knew nothing about her killing. But some of the items were found in his possession and Judge Daniel Mogotsi rejected his version.
Fisher ran a day-care centre from her home as well as a catering business. The court was told that she catered for weddings and funerals over weekends and even helped those who could not pay.
It emerged that Tshukudu had met her while he worked at the meat centre in Eersterust where she bought her supplies. He eventually asked her out on a date and on the night he was supposed to meet with her, he and other suspects, who have not been apprehended, killed and robbed her.
Judge Mogotsi said it was a brutal and callous murder of a woman who thought that she may have met the love of her life. The judge expressed his doubts that Tshukudu had any romantic feelings towards her. He found that it was a well-planned strategy to rob a defenceless woman.
Several letters from family members were handed to the judge shortly before sentencing, in which they described Fisher as a woman with a heart of gold.
She devoted her life to educating children and working for the good of the community. She was described as the heart of society, and it was said nothing would fill her void.
The judge was told that one of her sons was absolutely distraught at her killing, and he was struggling to come to terms with it. She assisted him when it became known that he was gay, and she helped him through this difficult journey.
The court was told that this son never received counselling. Judge Mogotsi asked prosecutor Cornelia Harmzen to see to it that the State provided him with counselling.
The judge expressed his dismay that this loving woman was killed simply for a few of her possessions. “She did not deserve this You betrayed her trust,” he said.
He added that this was not a crime of passion, but instead one committed because of criminality and greed.