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Killer sentenced to hang

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MBABANE – The High Court has pronounced another death sentence by hanging after that of serial killer David Simelane.

Ironically, he is also a Simelane.

Judge Nkululeko Hlophe has sentenced hit man Mciniseli Jomo Simelane to death and ordered that he shall hang by the neck until death.

Simelane was convicted of killing a seven-month-old baby when he set alight a house in which it was in after he did not find the father whom he had been hired to kill. The incident took place at Etimphandzeni in the Shiselweni region on July 22, 2009.

Simelane had been hired by one Ncobile Shabangu to kill Veli Mamba a suspect in the death of her husband who had been burnt inside his car.

Mamba is alleged to have been arrested and upon admission to bail he boasted that he would never be convicted of the said offence.

Revenge

This seemed to irk Shabangu who then engaged on a revenge mission. She hired her relative, Simelane and they bought petrol from Nhlangano with the plan to set Mamba alight together with his vehicles.

The High Court was told that she directed Simelane to Mamba’s homestead and remained in a neighbourhood waiting for him to finish the job.

However, Simelane did not find Mamba home, instead he found his wife, 25-year-old Tenele Samkeliso Sacolo, her seven-month-old baby and two other children asleep.

He decided to rape and assault Sacolo, hack a 15-year-old and thereafter set alight the house with the minor inside.

Simelane and Shabangu were represented by lawyer Sipho Simelane who had been hired by the state and appearing for the Crown was Crown Counsel Stanley Dlamini.

Simelane was charged with murder, attempted murder and rape of Sacolo, arson as well as assault. He was convicted in all of the charges.

Shabangu was also convicted of all of the offences for acting in common purpose, but the rape offence.

"In my view, the death of the baby Cololwakhe Mamba, was the most barbaric, cruel and gruesome way of ending one’s life, let alone that of an innocent child," Judge Hlophe said.

Intention

He dismissed Simelane’s defence that he did not have the intention to kill the child and had not been aware it was inside.

The judge said evidence showed that he knew of the child’s presence as it had been crying during the whole duration of the ordeal. Judge Hlophe said Simelane’s sprinkling of the bed with petrol was inconsistent with an unplanned burning of the house and the child whom he knew was there when he wrestled with its mother out of the house during the hacking.

Killed

Hlophe said it did not matter much if Simelane killed a different person from the one he had set out to end a life of, as long as death was foreseeable as a possibility.

He said there was no hesitation that Simelane foresaw the possibility of any occupants dying when he entered the house with petrol and sprinkled it on the bed.

He found that there were no circumstances reducing the moral blameworthiness on Simelane in respect of the murder charge. Simelane and Shabangu had been out on bail.

"The first accused is sentenced to death. Accordingly, Mr Simelane, you are to be returned to custody and you shall hang by your neck until you die. May God have mercy on your soul," Judge Hlophe said.

He found that Simelane had the intention to kill Sacolo as he had told her so upon entry into the house.

He said attempted murder occurs where the accused, while intending to kill, sets to do so, but does not consummate the act, due to interference or failure to execute the act with the necessary skill.

Murder

"I am convinced that attempted murder has been proved against the first accused (Simelane). He used a bush knife against the complainant and directed it at a delicate part of her body, the head and forehead," Judge Hlophe said.

He also found that Simelane did commit rape and further assaulted her 15-year-old son with the blade of a bush knife.

Simelane was also sentenced for the other offences as well. He said all sentences shall run concurrently since they arose from the same transaction.

THE SENTENCES

l MURDER - Death sentence and to be hanged.

l Attempted Murder – 10 years imprisonment.

l RAPE – 20 years imprisonment

l ARSON – Five years imprisonment.

l Assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm – Two years imprisonment.

... author of death incidents gets 35yrs

MBABANE – The author of the death incident Nqobile Shabangu has been sentenced to 35 years imprisonment for the three offences.

However, she will effectively spend 20 years behind bars, because High Court Judge Nkululeko Hlophe ordered that the sentences for the various offences should run concurrently.

This, Judge Hlophe said, was because they arose from the same incident.

Hired

He said Shabangu had stated her role, that she hired Mciniseli Simelane, to kill one Veli Mamba for an alleged connection to the death of her husband.

He said the motive why she did so was immaterial, but it sufficed that she acted in common purpose.

"The reality is that she had actively taken part in the planning of the killing of a human being.

Death

"It should not matter, in my view, whether a different person other than the one intended to be killed was killed if the death of such person was a reasonable possibility.

"I am convinced she foresaw the possibility of the death of any of the occupants of Veli Mamba’s house, but was reckless whether or not it occurred," Judge Hlophe said.

 

He said this applied to all the offences Shabangu was charged with.

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