Stalker intent on murder gets nine years
Australian stalker Shumsheer Ghumman, who fooled a journalist into finding him a hit-man to commit murder, has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
The 32-year-old London chartered accountant was sentenced in the Cape Town Regional Court yesterday.
Magistrate Herman Pieters said the sentence was intended to deter other foreigners planning to commit crimes in South Africa.
"People like Dewani, if the allegations are the truth, and the accused, will never commit these offences in their own countries. It seems that the Republic of South Africa has become popular for criminals to come and add to our crime stats," said Pieters.
"We should jealously protect our country from these invasions."
Ghumman was convicted by a UK court in 2009 for stalking Hannah Rhind. He met Rhind in London in March 2009 and harassed her until her father, Phillip Rhind, intervened.
Ghumman was arrested in Cape Town in January last year after he threw a petrol bomb at Rhind's parents' home in Clifton and slashed the tyres of their car, causing close to R50 000 of damage.
He posed as a London freelance photojournalist, calling himself Michael Kirkham, and got a journalist to put him in touch with gangsters.
Steven Kretzman, editor of the West Cape News, agreed to assist "Kirkham" with his "research" for a fee of R1 600. Kretzman was sent an e-mail describing the kind of gangster Ghumman was looking for.
"I do want to meet someone who has absolutely no compunction about behaving with appalling violence. The type of individuals who car-jacked Anni and Shrien Dewani, or someone like the fictitious tsotsi would be ideal," Ghumman said in his e-mail.
Kretzman assigned a journalist to find the gangsters.
Ghumman downloaded pictures of Rhind and her father from the internet. He obtained pictures of their home from Google Maps.
The journalist introduced Ghumman to Alfred Yalezo. Ghumman offered him R10 000 to murder Phillip Rhind.
Instead, Yalezo tipped the family off and Ghumman was arrested.
"The accused planned his actions carefully over a long period and misused the trust of many fellow human beings," said Pieters.
Ghumman applied for leave to appeal. The matter was postponed to June 8.