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Hiv-pos­i­tive man jailed for 25 years

In­ten­tion to kill, says judge

- SHERLISSA PETERS Crime · Incidents

THE killer of a re­tired fire­man should not get a life sen­tence be­cause he was al­ready doomed – he has HIV.

This was the ar­gu­ment put to Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court Judge Isaac Madondo yes­ter­day by an ad­vo­cate for Bheki Welling­ton Ng­cobo.

But Ng­cobo, 50, who had ear­lier con­fessed be­fore the judge, de­tail­ing the bru­tal­ity of the rob­bery and mur­der of Ron­ald Drake, was sen­tenced to an ef­fec­tive 25 years in prison.

Drake, 69, was stabbed to death in his Ash­bur­ton home on the morn­ing of May 19.

It is be­lieved that Drake had been sit­ting on his ve­randa read­ing his Bi­ble and his part­ner, Pa­tri­cia Sem­ple, was asleep in the bed­room when their at­tack­ers ap­peared on their prop­erty.

Drake was stabbed at least eight times in the chest and stomach. The post-mortem re­port sub­mit­ted in court yes­ter­day re­vealed that the stab wounds had punc­tured both his lungs and his heart.

Ng­cobo said that on the morn­ing of the at­tack, he had met his nephew, Mbon­geni Mchunu, 18, who wanted to rob Drake of his firearm.

“Mbon­geni asked me to help him. I agreed and we went to the Drake house armed with knives,” Ng­cobo said.

He said that they both waited near the garage of the house in the early hours, and while they were wait­ing, a dog came to­wards them and started bark­ing.

He said he tried to fend the dog off, but by that stage, Drake had al­ready come to in­ves­ti­gate why the dog was bark­ing.

“Mbon­geni went straight to Drake and started stab­bing him. I man­aged to chase the dog away and went to help Mbon­geni. I took out my knife and stabbed Drake a few times in his chest,” Ng­cobo said.

Firearm

Drake then fell to the floor. Ng­cobo said he en­tered the house through the open door and found Sem­ple in the bed­room. He asked her for the firearm, but she said that there was none.

“Mbon­geni then came to the bed­room and tied Sem­ple’s hands and legs with rope that he found in the house.

The two then searched the house and found a cell­phone and a LCD tele­vi­sion which they wrapped in a sheet and took with them.

Ng­cobo was ar­rested on June 6 in the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg CBD. He led the po­lice to his nephew, the tele­vi­sion and the cell­phone. He made a con­fes­sion the next day.

Mg­cobo’s le­gal aid ad­vo­cate, Kelvin Singh, ar­gued that his client should not be sen­tenced to life in prison be­cause even though this was a heinous crime, Ng­cobo was a first of­fender who was al­ready serv­ing a life sen­tence with his HIV sta­tus.

Singh ar­gued that Ng­cobo’s nephew was the pri­mary ag­gres­sor and the ini­tia­tor of the crime.

“Ng­cobo can be re­ha­bil­i­tated and rein­te­grated into so­ci­ety,” Singh said.

State pros­e­cu­tor Zuka Diyase ar­gued that Ng­cobo was a dan­ger­ous man who be­longed be­hind bars.

“He at­tacked and killed a re­tired fire­man in the sanc­tity of his home. His in­ten­tion was not just to sub­due Drake, but to kill him, as is in­di­cated by Drake’s wounds,” Diyase said.

Judge Madondo agreed that Ng­cobo had been con­victed of se­ri­ous of­fences, but found that plead­ing guilty and co-op­er­at­ing with the po­lice had weighed in Ng­cobo’s favour.

“You are an adult. You are sup­posed to ad­vise and guide your nephew, and yet you were dragged into his crim­i­nal scheme,” Judge Madondo said.

Ng­cobo was sen­tenced to 15 years for rob­bery with ag­gra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances and 25 years for mur­der. The sen­tences will run con­cur­rently.

Mbon­geni Mchunu has been ar­rested.

 ?? PIC­TURE: ZANELE ZULU ?? SHY: Andile Duma, charged with fraud for al­legedly pos­ing as a doc­tor and promis­ing to get peo­ple ten­ders at hos­pi­tals, ap­peared briefly yes­ter­day at the Dur­ban Com­mer­cial Crimes Court. His case was ad­journed.
PIC­TURE: ZANELE ZULU SHY: Andile Duma, charged with fraud for al­legedly pos­ing as a doc­tor and promis­ing to get peo­ple ten­ders at hos­pi­tals, ap­peared briefly yes­ter­day at the Dur­ban Com­mer­cial Crimes Court. His case was ad­journed.

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